Help Someone

Stand Up and help them live a happier and healthier life:

If you know someone who is using abusive behaviors or experiencing relationship violence, you can help make a difference with these 10 steps:

Step 1: Learn

Before you act, make sure you understand the dynamics of abuse:

Abusive Behaviors

Learn what behaviors are present in an abusive relationship.

Power & Control

Learn about the role of power and control in relationship violence.

Warning Signs

Learn what indicators can help you identify abuse in a relationship.

Step 2: Reflect

Before you talk to them, understand where you are by asking yourself:

  • Why am I getting involved?
  • What are my feelings towards abuse?
  • Do I have the emotional support that I need?
  • What do I expect to happen?
  • How do past experienced influence my feelings?
  • Am I putting my or someone else’s safety at risk?

Step 3: Consider

Prepare yourself by keeping these important points in mind:

Follow their pace

People experiencing relationship violence need support to make their own decisions when they are ready.

Be supportive

Take a non-shaming, non-blaming approach that doesn’t make the person feel like they are being attacked or judged.

Don't try to be a hero

Instead of following your impulse to rescue them, provide support and resources.

Know your limits

It’s not your job to fix the situation. Provide them with information, support and details about the Stand Up Colorado Helpline.

Don't take it personally

The person may not want to listen to what you have to say yet, so just focus on providing them with information that they may use later.

Is someone in danger?

No matter what the situation is, if you think anyone is in imminent danger then you should call 911 immediately.

Step 4: What Not to Do

Almost as important as knowing what to do is knowing what to avoid:

  • Don’t blame the person experiencing abuse
  • Don’t argue with them
  • Don’t tell them what they “have to” do
  • Don’t criticize either person in the relationship
  • Don’t accept excuses for the abuse
  • Don’t put yourself in harm’s way

Step 5: Start the Conversation

Find a quiet, private place to talk and being by asking:

  • How are things between you and ______?
  • You know you can talk to me about anything, right?
  • Have you heard of Stand Up Colorado?
  • I saw ______ upset the other day. Is everything OK?
  • Is everything going well in your relationship?
  • Did you know ______ about relationship violence?
  • Do you know how common relationship violence is?
  • I saw ______ upset the other day. Is everything OK?

Step 6: State Your Concerns

Be sure to talk to them in a non-shaming, non-blaming manner:

If they are using abusive behaviors:

  • I’ve seen things like…
  • I’m concerned by the way you talk to ______.
  • I don’t think it’s OK when you…
  • Do you notice how your behavior impacts ______?
  • I don’t like how I’ve seen you treat ______.
  • I saw ______ upset the other day. Is everything OK?

If they are experiencing abuse:

  • You deserve to be safe and in a healthy relationship.
  • I’m concerned by the way ______ talks to you.
  • I don’t like the way ______ treats you.
  • I don’t think it’s OK when…
  • Do you know how common relationship violence is?
  • I’ve noticed the way ______ has been treating you.

Step 7: The Discussion

Remember to be supportive and continually remind them you are here to help:

If they are using abusive behaviors:

  • You know how much I care about you, right?
  • I want you to have a healthy relationship.
  • You know, I know seen and heard…
  • There is no excuse, you are choosing this behavior.
  • Your abusive behavior won’t be tolerated.
  • Do you know how much your abuse impacts others?
  • There’s consequences for your actions.
  • Change is possible and help is available.

If they are experiencing abuse:

  • I’m concerned for your safety and well-being
  • The abuse you are experiencing is not your fault.
  • I am here to listen and support you.
  • They are choosing to use abusive behaviors.
  • You have a right to live free from fear and violence.
  • I will always be here for you.
  • It’s very important that you have a safety plan.
  • No matter what, I will support your decision.

Step 8: Provide Resources

Don’t try to do it alone. Tell them about the support and resources available:

Website

Learn more about relationship violence from Stand Up Colorado.

Helpline

Call the Stand Up Colorado Helpline at 855.9StandUp (855-978-2638)

Email

Ask a question about relationship violence and what to do.

Step 9: Follow-up

After the initial conversation, don’t let the issue fall back behind closed doors:

  • It is OK to get involved
  • Call out abusive behavior, it could save a life
  • Hold the person using abusive behaviors accountable
  • Continue to encourage them to seek help
  • Remember you might be the only person to intervene
  • Let them know that you are there for them

Step 10: Never Give Up

Continue to voice your concerns, provide support, and remember:

  • Change takes time
  • You may not have an immediate impact
  • People who experience abuse don’t seek help for many reasons
  • Changing abusive behaviors requires a serious decision
  • Every situation is different
  • They might not be ready to listen yet
  • Encouragement increases their chances of seeking help
  • People using abusive behaviors need support to change