Someone I know is in an abusive relationship. What can I do?

Someone I know is in an abusive relationship.  What can I do to help?

Learn about domestic violence and where help is available in your community or contact The Friendship Center at (406)442-6800 anytime.  All services are free and confidential. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.  Men can also be victims of domestic abuse and The Friendship Center can provide assistance and support to them, as well.

Respect that that are fears, needs and concerns keeping her (or him) in this relationship.  She may still love him and believe he will change.  Do not tell her what to do; she knows what is best for her now.  Ask her what she wants to do.

Listen to what she has to say and respect her privacy.  A lack of confidentiality could result in more danger.  Let her know that you are concerned about her.

Avoid labeling, threatening or criticizing the abuser.  Remember that the abuser has not always been abusive and she knows him as someone who has treated her with kindness and love in the past.

Understand that there are valid reasons for staying–such as the threat of worse violence, harm to pets or family members, lack of financial resources, fear of homelessness, the belief of not being able to cope alone or feeling responsible for making the relationship work.

Acknowledge the victim’s strengths and abilities when it is appropriate. The abuser may be very critical and never offer compliments or show appreciation.

Recognize that the abuser may try to maintain control  by isolation and intimidation.  Offer to be available to listen when there is a need to talk.

Encourage her or him to contact the Friendship Center to speak with a trained advocate.  The 24 Hour Crisis Line phone number is (406)442-6800.  All services are free and confidential.