1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Therefore, it's almost certain that every single one of us will know someone affected by abuse. On the other hand, a third of us say we wouldn't feel confident to provide appropriate information or support to someone if they confided in us that they're experiencing abuse.

Clearly there is a gap that must be bridged. This summer, we're starting our Bright Sky for Summer campaign, raising awareness of our free Bright Sky app and other ways that we can all support a loved one. We all have a role to play in ending domestic abuse, and it starts with those close to us. #WhatICanDo

Remember, if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999.

1. Don't be a bystander.

First and foremost, don't ignore it. Even if you're not certain that they're experiencing abuse, it's never best to leave it be. We know that it's an awkward conversation to have, but it's important nonetheless.

2. Use Bright Sky

Bright Sky is a free app providing support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship, or those concerned about someone they know. If you're a worried about a friend or family member, you can use the app's questionnaires to identify potentially abusive relationships, as well as national helplines, 'How To Help' section and a 'Find Help' tool to find their nearest support service.

Bright Sky could provide you with the knowledge to confidently approach your loved one. 

3. Talk

Start the conversation. It's easier said than done, and you may have to try several times before they open up to you, but it's an important first step. It could be easier to start that conversation while walking together or in the car - your loved one may feel more inclined to open up if they don't have to give you eye contact.

4. Listen

It can take many years for a victim of domestic abuse to tell someone of their experiences, even friends or family. Therefore, it's important that you listen to what they are telling you.

5. Believe

Despite domestic abuse affecting around 2 million people in England and Wales alone every single year, many people still don't believe that it can happen to someone they know. It's important to believe what the victim is telling you, and not to react with shock, as this may be interpreted as disbelief. If a victim feels they are not being believed, they may not seek further support.

6. Don't make excuses

It could be the first time that your loved one is opening up about their experiences. It's important to not make excuses for their partner, or ask them why they don't just leave. There's no excuse for abuse, and the only fault lies with the perpetrator. Your words in this first interaction will mean a lot.

7. Signpost to support

Offer words of encouragement, and let them know that professional support is available. Be patient, this is a suggestion that your loved one might not warm to straight away. Bright Sky provides the UK's national helplines and the ability to find their closest support services, as well as other domestic abuse resources.

Download Bright Sky today

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Read more like this:

- Miranda's Story of domestic abuse

- Bright Sky for Summer Campaign

- 7 Small Steps To Coping With Trauma