Victims of domestic violence are facing increased isolation and danger during this challenging time, and reaching out for safety and support may be difficult if not impossible. 


If you know a victim of domestic violence, you can help by making an anonymous call to 973-230-7229 to get safety tips and information on available services. FJC advocates will not ask for your name or the name of the victim, but they will answer your questions and guide you through safety planning strategies for domestic violence victims during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

HOW TO SUPPORT A FAMILY MEMBER OR A FRIEND WHO IS BEING ABUSED -- By the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV)

The following are tips and strategies for helping a victim of domestic violence, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not all recommendations are applicable at this time. Please see Safety Planning During COVID-19 or call 973-230-7229 for specific strategies.  

If you have a friend, family member, or coworker who you are concerned is in an abusive relationship, there are five simple but powerful things you can communicate to this person:

  • You don't deserve to be treated this way.

  • I am afraid for your safety.

  • I am afraid for the safety of your children.

  • There is help available.

  • I am here for you when you want to get help.


Recommended by Survivor and Advocate Sarah Buel.  Adapted by Casey Gwinn and Gael Strack. See Casey Gwinn, Gael Strack, Hope for Hurting Families: Creating Family Justice Centers Across America, Chapter 1, "I Have a Friend" (Volcano Press, 2006).


Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately they are the one who has to make the decisions about what they want to do. 

It’s important for you to support them no matter what they decide, and help them find a way to safety and peace.


The following guidelines for helping a friend, family member, or coworker are adapted from The National Domestic Violence Hotline:

  • Acknowledge that they are in a very difficult and scary situation.  Be supportive and listen. Let them know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure them that they are not alone and that there is help and support out there. It may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse. Let them know that you are available to help whenever they may need it. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen.

  • Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize their decisions or try to guilt them. They will need your support even more during those times

  • If they end the relationship, continue to be supportive of them. Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or family member may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. They will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.

  • Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family. Support is critical and the more they feel supported by people who care for them, the easier it will be for them to take the steps necessary to get and stay safe away from their abusive partner. Remember that you can call the hotline to find local support groups and information on staying safe.

  • Encourage them to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Give them the contact information for Essex County Family Justice Center or another local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with them. If they have to go to the police, court, or a lawyer’s office, offer to go along for moral support. Let them know that they can access counseling, support groups, safety planning, emergency food assistance, civil legal guidance, and criminal justice assistance from the Newark Police Department and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office—all at Essex County Family Justice Center.

  • Remember that you cannot “rescue” them.