What if an Abuser Admits to being Abusive?

You may suspect abuse is happening to a friend or family member, but don’t know what to do. The victim may have disclosed the abuse to you or may have asked you for help.  By reading about the warning signs and risk factors you will better recognize partner abuse and better support the victim.

You may decide that you would like to talk to the abuser.  This is important and must be done carefully.  Never risk your own personal safety.  Although you may be able to help the abuser confront their behaviour, abusive behaviour does not go away. There are services in the community to help.

Overcome your hesitation to help if you feel it is none of your business or both victim and abuser are your friends. It could be a matter of life and death and saying you care is a good start.

If you are the victim of abuse, it may be easier to talk to your abuser in a public place, or a place of safety with a trusted friend or family member.  Police cannot warn your partner about the violence without criminally investigating, especially if it is not an emergency. Evaluate your situation and consider your options.


When talking to the abuser:

  • Plan ahead – choose the place and time to have a full discussion
  • Approach the abuser when they are calm
  • Be direct and clear about what you know
  • Don’t be personally confrontational but tell them their behaviour is their responsibility and how it affects others.
  • Don’t validate any attempts to blame others
  • Keep your conversation focused on their family’s safety
  • Never argue and recognize that confrontational approaches may lead to more abuse
  • Keep the conversation open and look for ways to help find support
  • Call the Police if someone’s safety is in jeopardy or in an emergency

See the [resources section] for partner abuse counselling, assaulted women’s hotline or a local shelter to discuss the situation.