Domestic violence and relationship abuse support

Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control their partner. It can happen at any point in a relationship, including after you have split up. If you are in a relationship or household where there is violence or abuse, there is help and support available to you; find out more about this below. 

You are not alone. You do not have to stay with an abusive partner or in an abusive situation because of Covid-19.

Don’t forget to delete your browsing history if you are concerned someone is tracking your internet history.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please dial 999. If you are with your abuser, call from a mobile and you can use the Silent Solution to let the operator know you’re in danger without having to say it out loud – press 55 when the 999 call is answered. The operator will ask a series of yes/no questions but if you cannot speak, you do not need to say anything else – listen to the instructions given to you by the call handler so they can assess your call and send help. Please note, the 55 Silent Solution does not work on landlines.

If you are unable to use a voice phone, you can register for the police text service - text REGISTER to 999.  You will get a text which tells you what to do next.  Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.

Relationship abuse is not always physical - it’s a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour, that can also be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. If you alter your behaviour because you are frightened of how your partner will react, you are being abused.

Domestic violence and abuse is not always perpetrated by a partner; an abuser may be a parent, sibling, teenage son/daughter, usually living in the same household. Men can be victims of domestic violence and abuse, and women can be perpetrators, but the majority of perpetrators are men and the majority of victim survivors are women.

Victim Support can help you to recognise the signs you may be being abused:

  • They make threats and do things that make me feel frightened.
  • They put me down just to make me feel bad when we’re alone or around friends.
  • They make me do things that I don’t want to do without listening to me.
  • They make me feel guilty if I don’t spend time with them.
  • They don’t try to get on with my friends or family.
  • They hit, slap or push me.
  • They look through my phone, social media or web history.
  • They want to know where I am all the time.
  • They cheat on me or accuse me of cheating on them.
  • They steal from me or make me buy them things.
  • They make me have sex when I don’t want to.

To find out more about recognising the signs of abuse, visit the Refuge website or NHS.

If you’re a student at home, or on campus, and you’re experiencing abuse or violence in your household, you can contact Student Services for support and advice; let us know the safest way to get in touch with you.

The websites listed in this section provide practical advice on their pages, as well as emotional support and guidance via the telephone and online chat functions.

There are a number of national helplines available, highlighted below. However, it might be difficult for you speak to someone if your abuser is in the same household; online chat offers a silent way of accessing support, and tech support is available if you’re worried your online activity is being monitored.

Domestic Abuse Helplines

New Era (Staffordshire including Newcastle under Lyme): 0300 303 3778

England0808 2000 247

Northern Ireland: 0808 802 1414

Scotland: 0800 027 1234

Wales: 0808 8010 800

Domestic Abuse Support Services

Women's Aid live chat service (available Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm)

Men's Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

Respect helpline: 0808 802 4040 (for anyone worried that they may be harming someone else)

Dyn Wales/Dyn Cymru: 0808 801 0321 (for men in Wales experiencing domestic abuse)    

Galop: 0800 999 5428 (national helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic abuse)

Karma Nirvana: 0800 5999 247 (for victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage)

Forced Marriage Unit: 0207 008 0151

Paladin - National Stalking Advocacy Service: 020 3866 4107

Citizens Advice National Helpline: 03444 111 444. Check your local office website for the most up to date information on contact details. 

ChaynProvides support and information in multi-lingual formats.

The websites in the accordion above provide a lot of information if you want to learn more about your options and get practical advice aimed at keeping you safe in your home. Below are some direct links.

If you are concerned about someone you know, call the Refuge 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. They can offer you confidential advice on how best to help the person you are worried about. If you are worried about their safety, call 999.

Do not approach the perpetrator, as this could escalate the abuse and put you and the victim at risk of harm.

Chayn have also provided detailed guidance in their Good Friend Guide.