This can include hitting, kicking, shoving and physically attacking a person in any way. It can occur between couples, parents and their children, and acquaintances. Physical abuse can lead to severe physical and mental health damage. It is not normal. If your friend is under 18 then child abuse laws are likely to apply and it should be reported to the police.
How to support your friend
If your friend is in a physically abusive relationship the first thing is to encourage them to get out of the relationship or environment where the abuse is occurring. This is particularly the case if the abuse is severe or repeated. If they are not able to leave the relationship then find out if they have:
- Asked the perpetrator to stop. If they have and the abuse continues then you should:
- Continue to advise that they get out of the relationship or environment where the abuse is occurring. You can suggest they talk to health professionals or counsellors and, if they are willing to consider this, you may be able to help them locate someone. Health professionals will know emergency services that can be contacted.
- You may also be able to help them locate some emergency accommodation services, crisis centres or abuse hotlines (check the internet or phone book for these services in your area). Friends of abused people have even indicated that they brought their friend to their home to stay until arrangements were made.