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How to Help

Awareness and prevention are the best way to protect teens and decrease violence in dating relationships.


Educating ourselves and our community about the components of healthy relationships, warning signs of unhealthy and abusive relationships as well as the effects is one of the most effective ways to change the cycle of abuse. Read through the warning signs on this site and share them with the teens in your life and other parents, teachers and adults. 


If you suspect someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, below are some tips for approaching them.

  1. Be gentle, supportive, and understanding as you talk about this delicate and unsettling topic. Discussing the possibility that they are a victim of abuse can be difficult for the young person you’re trying to help. 

  2. Be approachable. Don't come across as wiser. Avoid statements that could convey that you believe this would never have happened to you, doing so could inadvertently confirm exactly what their abuser has been telling them.

  3. It may be beneficial to obtain a handout that lists the warning signs of abuse. Reading over the warning signs may help the person realize they’re being abused and don’t deserve to be treated this way.

    • Make sure the resource includes a phone number and other resources for help, and safety information, such as how to call the resource from someone else’s phone.

  4. Once you’ve broached the topic, if the victim or survivor starts acknowledging the existence of abuse, listen more than talk. Assess their comfort level, and if you think they feel comfortable with your doing so, ask some gentle questions.

  5. Believe the victim and show that you take whatever they share with you seriously. Validate their feelings and show your support. 

  6. Be careful not to underestimate the intensity of their situation due to age, dating inexperience, or the length of the relationship.

  7. Be patient. It may take them some time to be ready to leave the relationship. 

  8. When they're receptive, help them develop a safety plan, such as avoiding the kitchen (which has knives), avoiding being alone with the abusive person, and knowing how to reach for help if needed.

  9. After checking whether the victim is comfortable with your doing so, consider contacting their school and asking about its policy regarding dating violence.

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