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If you have concerns about someone's safety, if they have told you they are feeling unsafe in their relationship, or if they have been harmed, there are things you can do to ensure they get the help and support they need.
Believe them: If someone has told you that they aren’t feeling safe or have been harmed, it’s really important that you listen to them and believe them. Don’t act like they’re making things up or trying to get attention. Tell them you believe them. It takes a huge amount of kaha (courage) for someone to kōrero (talk) about feeling unsafe in a relationship. Knowing they are believed is extremely important.
Ask the right pātai (questions): Allow the other person the space to tell you the amount of information they are comfortable with, but don’t ask for further details. It can be distressing for them if they are made to talk about their abuse. Instead, ask open-ended pātai (questions) about how they are now and what support they need.
Offer tautoko (support): Let them know that you will be there for them if they want you to be. This being said, do make sure that you only offer what you are able to give in terms of support. Your safety and well-being are also important.
Don’t take over: It can be tempting to want to jump in and try to fix the situation by offering advice or coming up with solutions ourselves. However, it’s important that the other person isn’t pressured into making decisions they’re not comfortable with, or are made to feel as though they no longer have a say in the matter. Let them take the lead.
Involve the right people: Knowing that someone you care about isn’t safe can be a lot to take in. Remember, you are not their counsellor and you can't fix the situation all by yourself. It is important that they share information about the abuse with an adult they trust, or someone at a dating violence support service.
You can ask the other person if there is an adult they feel comfortable talking to. Is there a particular kaiako (teacher) at kura (school) they’d prefer to speak to? Would they prefer to kōrero (speak) with your parent/guardian instead of their own? You could also help them search for support services online. Here are some services to consider:
They might ask you not to tell anyone about what is going on. If abuse is happening to them or they are in immediate danger of being abused, then you need to share this information with an adult you trust. This can be hard as it goes against what they have said, but their safety comes first. Let them know you really care about them and want to make sure they’re going to be okay.
If you are concerned about the safety of someone you care about, it is important to check in and have a conversation with them. This can be awkward, but it’s important that you can share your concerns with them.