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This page is for information purposes only. Please don’t use this website to report domestic abuse. Please call 101 to report, 999 in an emergency or contact other organisations there to help like the ones listed on this page.

What is Domestic Abuse?

There is a long government definition for domestic abuse, but essentially it’s about whether or not you feel safe at home and whether people you live with are causing you, and others in your household – including your children and pets – harm. This doesn’t always have to be physical. Domestic abuse can include what someone might say that causes you to feel unsafe (like calling you names and putting you down), or what they might do, like hide your phone or prevent you from accessing money or seeing friends and family. Women’s Aid has a helpful page here that describes how to recognise some of the warning signs.

Domestic Abuse can happen to anyone, including those in LGBT+ communities. This is why it’s important to get the right help, and some of the organisations listed on this page may be useful.

Not everyone is ready to accept the term “abuse”, and so it’s important to find language that works for you. If you’re beginning to recognise something’s not right though, one important thing to remember is it’s not your fault. No one “deserves” to feel unsafe at home, and the responsibility for abuse always lies with the perpetrator of it.

If it feels safe, you can report domestic abuse to your local police on 101, or in an emergency call 999. If you’re unable to speak, you can use the ‘silent solution’ – wait for the operator and cough or tap the handset, and when instructed press 55. Alternatively, the organisations listed are there to listen, just check their websites for availability. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.

Useful Links

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000247
Available 24/7

Women’s Aid Live Chat Service
Check website for availability

LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 9995428
Check website for availability

Men’s Advice Line – 0808 8010327
Check website for availability

Respect Phoneline – 0808 8024040
Check website for availability

To report, call 101. In an emergency call 999.

Supporting someone you’re worried about

It’s tempting, when someone tells us what’s happening at home, to tell them to “just leave” – but that’s not helpful; leaving can actually put the person at more risk of harm if they haven’t had time to plan their exit strategy. This page from Refuge explains Barriers to Leaving.

It’s important to thank the person for trusting you with what they’ve said; it will have taken a lot of courage to talk about what’s been going on at home. You can also suggest avenues of support like their doctor or via the hospital, or the agencies that are listed on this page.

It’s also important that you take care of yourself when you’re worried about someone else. Make time for self-care and create boundaries in terms of recognising how you can – and can’t -realistically help; definitely don’t make promises you can’t keep. This page from Women’s Aid for when you’re worried about someone else may help.

If you don’t know the person, but think domestic abuse is happening on your street and you think someone is in danger, then ring the police. You can report on 101, or ring 999 in an emergency. The police have a duty to respond to concerns of the welfare of others. You could also try talking to the neighbour if it feels safe, using some of the tips on this page. If it’s children you’re worried about, you could contact your local safeguarding team, social services or report anonymously through NSPCC, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Tips for helping someone who discloses they’re being harmed at home

Believe them and listen. Avoid saying things like “but they seem so nice”, or “what did you do to deserve it?”; domestic abuse is not caused by the person being subjected to it. Don’t make excuses for the perpetrator either, like “but they’re having such a hard time at work”. There is no excuse for hurting someone in any way.

Avoid coming up with too many solutions, and ask the person what they need and what might help for now. They might ask you to store some clothes for them, for example, for when they’re ready to leave, or ask if they can make important calls to get help from your phone. Remember leaving may not be a safe option.

If your behaviour is hurting someone else

If you’re recognising abusive behaviours then choose to stop. The Respect Phoneline is there to provide information on what to do next. This page from Respect is about understanding abusive behaviour.

This page is for information purposes only. Please don’t use this website to report domestic abuse. Please call 101 to report, 999 in an emergency or contact other organisations there to help like the ones listed on this page.