How Can I Help an Abuse Victim?

Here are some of the ways you can help when you recognize the warning signs of abuse.

  • Talk to the individual about what you see and assure them that you are concerned. Tell them you believe them and that it is not their fault.
  • Encourage them not to confront their partner if they are planning to leave. Their safety must be protected.
  • Offer to provide childcare while the individual seeks help.
  • Offer your home as a safe haven to the individual and their children and pets. If they accept your offer, do not let their partner in.
  • Encourage them to pack a small bag with important items and keep it stored at your home in case he or she needs it.
  • Know that you or they can call for help at Victim Services of York Region, a crisis line, your local shelter or, in an emergency, the police.
  • Show them materials about ways they can protect themselves. The [Safety Planning] component of this website may be helpful.
  • If you want to get further advice about a situation, contact Victim Services of York Region, a local shelter or a crisis line. They can help.


Remember, you don’t have to be an expert and your role is not to be a counsellor. There are professionals in your community who provide expert services and advice. What you can do is be supportive and let the individual know there are services they can contact and people who can help. If you know someone who is being abused by their partner, there are many things you can do that will make a real difference. For advice, contact Victim Services of York Region or visit the resources section of this website.