Children and young people who live with abuse are often all out on their own because they are ashamed or afraid of their secret. Sometimes they wont even speak about it to their very best friends.
It’s not easy to know how to support a friend who you suspect is living in a dangerous situation. Do we talk about? Do we tell others? Is this a secret that as a friend we are bound to keep?
We certainly can’t ‘fix’ things for them ourselves but we can make a big difference in helping them to find protection.
Some of the suggestions:
- Don’t pretend everything is okay. Act on what you are noticing by telling your friend that you are worried and asking if she/he is okay.
- Make sure they know you absolutely believe them: even if from the outside, their family looks perfect.
- Reassure them that is not their fault. Ever.
- Don’t push for details and don’t gossip/share details with other friends. If you share your concern with an adult, that is NOT gossiping.
- Help them to reach out for support to an adult or service
- Get help for yourself too: it’s not easy feeling like you are the only one who can make a difference