Helping People Who Are Abusive

While it can be hard to confront a friend who is being abusive, it’s important to stand up to stop abuse from happening in our schools, communities, and lives. Below is a list of ways that you can help someone who is being abusive.

  1. Let them know that their behavior is not okay.
  2. Tell them what is abusive – be specific (use the list of red flags and harmful behavior).
  3. Ask them lots of questions to make them think about their actions

Examples of questions to ask:

  • Why did the incident happen?
  • What did you want to happen?
  • How do you think the other dating partner felt after you___?
  • Do you believe you have the right to make choices for your dating partner?
  • Do you think your dating partner is afraid of you?
  • Can you think of a respectful way to handle the situation instead?
  1. Let them know that they do have the ability to control their responses to anger, frustration, and pain.
  2. Help them see what will happen as a result of their violence.


  • Their partner will be afraid of them.
  • Their partner won’t trust them, and they won’t trust their partner.
  • Their partner may leave them.

6. Support them in getting help and trying to change (use community and personal resources).