What is Domestic Abuse?
Anyone who is forced to change their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner, ex-partner or family member’s reaction is experiencing abuse. It can affect anyone regardless of age, class, race, gender, sexuality, disability or social background. According to Safe Lives, the majority of high-risk victims are in their 20s or 30s, with those under 25 most likely to suffer interpersonal violence.
Many people hold the abuse a secret, however, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event and often gets more severe and more frequent over time.
Do not feel guilty or blame yourself. Domestic abuse is never the fault of the person who is experiencing it.
There is a range of services available to you, and there are many people and organisations that are able to support you if you are experiencing domestic abuse.
What are the signs of domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is not only physical, but can also be verbal, psychological and emotional, sexual, coercive, financial and economic as well as technological.
You could be experiencing domestic abuse if someone you live with:
- Physically harms you or denies access to doctors or medication.
- Is jealous and possessive and directs false allegations towards you.
- Acts charming one minute and abusive the next.
- Controls where you go, who you can meet, and what you can do.
- Isolates you from your friends and relatives.
- Constantly puts you down and humiliates you.
- Controls your money.
- Gaslights you and says they are not abusing you even if their behaviour indicates they are.
- Pressures you into having unwanted sex.
- Monitors or tracks your movements or messages, threatens to reveal unwanted information on social media.
- Uses anger and intimidation to control you.
This is not an exhaustive list. Information from Refuge: https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/en/What-is-abuse
Developing a crisis plan
- Plan in advance how you might respond to different crisis situations.
- Think through options available to you.
- Keep emergency and support telephone numbers with you.
- Teach your kids to call 999 in an emergency.
- If you have someone you trust, tell them what is going on.
- Rehearse an escape plan.
- Keep spare keys, money and a set of clothes and any medication you use at hand.
- Know where the nearest phone is, and if you have a mobile phone, try to keep it with you.
- If you think they may attack you, move to the room that has a route out, and try to stay away from rooms in which you may be easily trapped.
- If possible, leave when the abuser is not around but be prepared to leave in an emergency.
Information from Women’s Aid. For more details, please see https://www.womensaid.org.uk/the-survivors-handbook/making-a-safety-plan/
Sources of support in case of Domestic Abuse
- National Domestic Abuse helpline
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a freephone 24-hour helpline which provides advice and support to women and can refer them to emergency accommodation.
There are translation facilities if your first language is not English. The Helpline also offers BT Type talk for callers with hearing difficulties. The Helpline worker contacts the Type talk operator so that the caller can communicate through them.
Phone: 0808 2000 247
The Women's Aid website provides a wide range of resources to help women and young people.
This includes The Survivor's Handbook which provides a range of information including legal and housing advice, tips on how to create a safety plan and advice for people with specialist housing needs. It's available in 11 languages and in audio.
They also run a website to support to children and teenagers who may be living in a home affected by domestic violence, or who may be in a violent relationship themselves.
Phone: Varies by region
They provide refuges to mothers and children made homeless by domestic abuse, offer emotional and practical support and ensure that every service user has an up-to-date risk assessment and support plan tailored to their needs. They also run community-based support. Their Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA), Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) and floating support teams support people living in the community who are at high risk of violence and abuse.
They also operate Bright Sky, a free mobile app providing support and information to anyone who is concerned that someone they know is experiencing domestic abuse.
Phone: 0808 2000 247
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (for a secure email path)
- UK Says No More - Safe Spaces
Safe spaces are available in pharmacies and Morrisons across the UK. Once you are inside, all the specialist domestic abuse support information will be available for you to access.
Some Safe Spaces are also prepared to respond to the Ask for ANI codeword, to provide victims with a discreet way to access help calling the police on 999 or specialist support services. If a pharmacy has Ask for ANI and Safe Spaces information on display, it means they’re ready to help.
- Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors (FLOWS)
FLOWS gives legal advice to women who are affected by domestic abuse - they also give advice to front line workers. FLOWS can help consider the available options, online, on the phone, or sitting down with an expert in your local area. It’s an entirely confidential and fully independent service.
Phone: 0203 745 7707 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
Supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. Some concerns that they can be contacted about:
- Being pressured to get married against your will
- Fear to bring shame & dishonour on your family
- Being emotionally manipulated or physically abused
- Being told to get married because of your religion
- Worrying about being disowned
Phone: 0800 5999 247 (Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm)
Provides advice and support with:
- Improving your safety
- Housing and homelessness
- Finances and welfare benefits
- Access to legal services
- Support reporting abuse if you choose to
- Parenting and children
- Emotional support
- Immigration and No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)
Phone: 0800 802 5565
Dedicated services for men
Help for men who have been sexually abused or raped, no matter when the abuse happened, and challenge the silence and attitudes.
Provides a range of services aimed primarily at men experiencing domestic abuse from their partner.
Phone: 0808 8010327 (Mon–Fri 9am-8pm)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat and Sun 10am-12pm and 4pm-6pm)
Provides emotional support and details of counsellors and agencies throughout the UK. They work with callers to develop healthy, positive coping strategies, an inner feeling of strength and increased self-esteem to encourage healing, recovery and moving forward with life.
Phone: 0208 554 9004
The ManKind Initiative is a charity offering information and support to men who are victims of domestic abuse or violence. This can include information and support on reporting incidents, police procedures, housing, benefits and injunctions. They can refer you to a refuge, local authority or other another support service if you need it.
Phone: 01823 334244 (Weekdays 10am to 4pm)
Dedicated services for LGBTq+ people
- National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Domestic Violence Helpline (run by Galop)
Provides confidential support to all members of the LGBT communities, their family, friends, and agencies supporting them. The helpline is run by trained LGBT people and provides a space where you can talk through what is going on, and explore your options.
- provide confidential information, advice and support
- help you create your safety plan
- explore options around housing, legal advice, counselling and local support groups
- tell you about your local LGBT friendly services
- discuss the possibility of reporting to the Police
Number: 0300 999 5428 or 0800 9995428 Mon and Thu: 10am-8pm, Tue and Wed: 10am-5pm (Tue 1pm-5pm trans specific), Fri: 1pm-5pm
Dedicated services for people with disabilities
User-led organisation run by disabled people, providing specialist and holistic advocacy and support services to disabled people from diverse communities in London who are victims/survivors of domestic or sexual violence, hate crime, harassment and other forms of abuse
Phone: 0208 519 7241 (Open 10.00 a.m – 5.00 p.m, Monday through Thursday)
Text: 07587 134 122
Domestic abuse support for deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL)
Phone: 020 3947 2601
Text, WhatsApp, Facetime: 07970 350366
Respond works with children and adults with learning disabilities who’ve either experienced abuse or abused other people.
Phone: 020 7383 0700
Dedicated services for people from ethnic minorities
- Latin American Women’s Rights Service
Support services for Latin American women suffering from domestic abuse. If calling is not safe, email with your name, phone number and the best time to call you.
Phone: 0771 928 1714 Mon-Thu 10am-1pm or 0759 597 0580 Mon-Fri 10am-1pm
- Iranian Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation
Support for Middle Eastern, North African and Afghan women and girls living in the UK suffering from domestic abuse, forced marriage, FGM and honour-based abuse, or in need of separation and divorce, child custody, housing and benefits.
Phone: 020 7920 6460 Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:30pm
Out of hours: Kurdish, Arabic, English 07846 275246; Farsi, Dari, English 07846 310157
Kiran Support Services (‘Kiran’) offers empowerment, freedom & light to survivors of domestic abuse. They provide safe, temporary accommodation to Asian women and their children and they are the only agency of its kind in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is a service provided by Asian women for Asian women and children.
Phone: 020 8558 1986
Organisation helping Asian and Afro-Caribbean women suffering abuse Their aims are to highlight and challenge all forms gender-related violence against women, empower them to gain more control over their lives; live without fear of violence and assert their human rights to justice, equality and freedom.
Phone: 0208 571 9595 (Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm Closed for Lunch 12:30pm – 1:30)
Asha can also provide confidential advice and information to any South Asian woman who is experiencing violence, or is worried about someone they know. It also offers secure, temporary accommodation for South Asian women and children fleeing violence.
Phone: 0208 696 0023
Dedicated services for different religious groups
Service for Jewish women and children affected by domestic and sexual violence
Domestic Abuse Service in London and Manchester can offer:
- risk reduction and safety planning
- a free initial consultation with a family law solicitor
- financial and benefits advice
- support to access safe housing
- support with applying for a 'Get' (Jewish bill of divorce)
- referrals to JWA counselling, children's therapy and parenting advice
- guidance on civil and criminal legal options
- support in family court proceedings
- referrals to external agencies to support your specific requirements
Phone: 0808 801 0500 (Domestic abuse), 0808 801 0656 (Sexual abuse)
Operates national specialist faith and culturally sensitive helpline that is confidential and non-judgmental, which offers information, support, guidance and referrals for those who are suffering from or at risk of abuse or facing problems on a range of issues.
Phone 0800 999 5786 / 0303 999 5786
Sources of Support at LSE
LSE Student Counselling Service offers a private and confidential space for you to discuss any concerns about your mental health during one-to-one appointments.
In case of sexual violence: If you have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence as a student, and would like to be seen within 24 hours (during the week), you can book a priority counselling appointment. Email: email@example.com, subject line: “Priority SVSH” or call: +44 (0)20 7852 3627
If you have experienced, or witnessed, any form of violence or harassment and you want to report this to LSE, you can do this in two different ways. You can report this via the “Report it. Stop it.” tool, which is followed up confidentially or speak to one of the contacts listed here if you are comfortable in doing so.
While the LSESU Advice Service are not trained counsellors that can aid you directly in the case of emergency, they can help you talk through your options and signpost you to the relevant services.
The LSESU Advice Service also administers the Hardship Fund, which is a means tested fund designed to help students who have fallen into short-term, unforeseen hardship to continue with their studies and complete their degree. The fund is managed independently from LSE and is designed to provide support in emergency situations.
- Accommodation (if you are experiencing abuse in halls)
You can contact wardens, members of Pastoral Support Team or Peer Supporters living in halls. You can also report incidents of bullying and harassment at https://lse.ac.uk/reportit