I want to help

It’s hard to know what to do when you know – or suspect – that a friend or family member is living with violence.

Should I say something or mind my own business?

We know that New Zealanders DO want to help. We also know that people want to be helped and want others to know what is going on.

We know that there are many actions that help. Sometimes just one action or comment can make the difference.

What’s important is HOW we approach people who are living with violence. 

If you know or suspect someone is being intimidated, controlled or hurt, find out what you can do to help. It's OK to get involved – you could save a life.

If children are being hurt they need adults to step in and take charge of their safety. They need to be able to tell adults they can trust what is happening to them.

Say things like:

  • Are you ok?
  • Is someone hurting you?
  • Is there anything I can do?

If you suspect someone is being hurt:

  • give support not advice
  • listen
  • take violence seriously
  • don't tell them what to do
  • let them make their own decisions however long it takes

BUT call the Police on 111 if you think someone is in danger or if you're unsure then check our Danger Signs page.

Adults living with violence need support to make decisions in their own time when they are ready.

It's important to go at their pace.

Adults affected by family violence feel a lot of shame whether they are being violent or being hurt. They need to make changes in their own time when they are ready.

Children need to be protected from violence happening in their homes – they need adults around them to keep them safe.

The sooner you reach out to someone living with family violence the sooner they can get help.

If you want to talk to your friend or family member about the violence, it's best to pick a quiet time – not when the violence is happening.

If you want to help someone who you suspect is violent, challenge the behaviour not the person. Say things like:

  • Can I help?
  • Do you need to talk?
  • It's not OK your kids are scared of you.

The sooner you reach out to someone who is being violent the sooner they can get help to change.

The Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) provides self-help information and connects people to services where appropriate. It is available seven days a week, from 9am to 11pm, with an after-hours message redirecting callers in the case of an emergency.

Partners, family and friends can request Police to advise if a person has a history of family violence. See more at this link:


Note though that as most family violence goes unreported, not having a police record is no guarantee that someone has not been an abusive.