Is someone you know unsafe at home?


Family violence often happens behind closed doors, making it hard for people experiencing abuse to reach out for support.

We need to look out for our loved ones and each other. By asking someone you know ‘are you safe at home?’, your support could make a real difference.

Grey house with green door

If you’re worried someone you know may be experiencing family violence, ask if they are safe and if there’s anything you can do to help. Many people worry they’ll be interfering, but with the right approach this conversation could make a real difference.

Wait until you have an opportunity to speak with the person alone and approach the conversation sensitively and empathetically. Don’t pressure them to talk if they are uncomfortable. Be patient and let them know you’re there if they need to talk.

It takes a lot of strength and courage to tell someone about violence or abuse. If someone opens up to you, it’s important that you listen without interrupting, believe them, and take the abuse seriously.

Remember, family violence is never excusable, and it is not the victim survivor’s fault. Keep in contact with them regularly and check in on how they are going.

Respect their choices and don’t judge them if they want to stay. From the outside, leaving a violent relationship may seem like a simple solution. But there are many valid reasons why someone may choose to stay, including:

  • Fearing the violence could get worse if they try to leave
  • Relying financially on the person who is abusing them
  • Feeling like they have nowhere to go
  • Loving and caring for the abuser
  • Hoping that the situation may improve
  • Relying on the abuser for physical or emotional care and support

Questions you can ask

You can support your friend or relative by asking the following questions:
  • What can I do to help you?
  • How is the behaviour affecting you?
  • How is the behaviour affecting your children?
  • What do you think you should do?
  • What are you afraid of if you leave?
  • What are you afraid of if you stay?

Take the quiz

Sometimes it can be difficult to identify family violence, especially if it is happening to you by someone you love.

Take the quiz to learn about the different forms of family and domestic violence, see if someone you know is experiencing abuse and find out what you can do to get help.

Coming soon!

Are they unsafe right now?

If anyone is in immediate danger, call triple zero (000). It’s okay to seek help for someone else.

If someone you know may be using violence

There are some important things to remember if you’re concerned someone you know may be using violence.

Most importantly, take care and stay safe. Try to avoid situations where the person who is being abusive could harm or manipulate you. Don’t try to intervene directly if you see someone being assaulted, call the police on triple zero (000).

When talking to someone who may be using violence:

  • Tell them about specific behaviour you have observed
  • Avoid accusing, arguing with, or judging them
  • Tell them you are concerned about their partner or family’s safety
  • Don’t get involved in excusing the abuse
  • Remind them that help and support is available
  • Let them know you believe they can change


If you only know about the abuse because the victim has told you, ask them first before saying anything to the perpetrator. The person using violence may become more abusive if they think their family member has told someone.

Looking after yourself

Supporting a friend or relative who is being abused can be difficult.

Remember to look after yourself and get help if you need it. You can contact a specialist family violence service for advice.

Easy English

Information from this website is also available in an Easy English downloadable booklet called ‘How to feel safe at home if there is family violence’.