Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone.
Also called domestic abuse, includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members.
Domestic violence can happen against women and against men, and anybody can be an abuser.
Who can help?
You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. Furthermore, if domestic abuse is happening to you, it’s important to tell someone and remember you’re not alone.
You can talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife. The Survivor’s Handbook from the charity Women’s Aid is free. It provides information for women on a wide range of issues. Such as housing, money, helping your children, and your legal rights.
Men can also email email@example.com. Which can refer men to local places that can help. Such as health services and voluntary organisations.
For forced marriage and “honour” crimes, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151).
Galop provides support to LGBT people experiencing domestic violence.
Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.
A third of domestic violence and abuse against women starts during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse.
Find out more about domestic violence in pregnancy.
If you decide to leave the first step in escaping an abusive situation is realising that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault.
If you’re considering leaving, be careful who you tell. It’s important your partner doesn’t know where you’re going.
Women’s Aid has useful information about making a safety plan that applies to both women and men. This includes advice if you decide to leave.
How to support others
Helping a friend if they’re being abused If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong.
They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.
If someone confides in you that they’re suffering domestic abuse, listen, and take care not to blame them.
Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse give them time to talk. But don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to.
Acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation. Tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said support them as a friend.
Encourage them to express their feelings. And allow them to make their own decisions don’t tell them to leave the relationship. If they’re not ready – that’s their decision.
Ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP.
Help them report the assault to the police. If they choose to, be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse.