Getting involved when someone shows signs of domestic abuse

What should we do when it looks like someone we know is behaving violently toward their partner? Whether it’s a friend, neighbor, father, or brother, there are a number of approaches that can be used to bring up the subject and get them talking.

Ask them to talk

“Hi, what’s happening here? I can see things aren’t going well for you. I get the feeling your relationship’s in trouble or it’s not going the way you’d like.”

Identify specific behaviors

“I’ve seen you get rough with your partner a couple of times. Do you want to talk about it? Can I help you in any way? It can’t be easy for those around you.”

If they try to justify their behavior

Try to get them to realize that there’s no justification for violent behavior.

Suggest they seek counseling

“You know, I know somewhere that could help you work on these issues. It’s worth a try, before you go too far and really damage the relationship… You’ve got to do something to put a stop to this. And seeking help doesn’t mean you’re crazy—it’s just the opposite.”

Take the right attitude


  • Be a good listener.
  • Come out against violence and improper conduct.
  • Make it clear they need to act quickly.
  • Don’t accept the prejudices and justifications for violent behavior.
  • Advise him to get counseling, without making him feel guilty.
  • Explain that counseling services have professionals trained to work with people who have problems with violent behavior.

Source: Accord Mauricie Inc. help center for men who have problems with violent behavior