Domestic violence

This Section Includes Information Relating to:

For children and young people witnessing domestic violence in the home

If you are a child or young person witnessing domestic violence in the home you may be feeling very alone, frightened, depressed, confused, isolated. Your school work may be suffering, you may be experiencing difficulties in making friends and relationships, you may be harming yourself in some way as a means of coping with the circumstances at home.

It is important to talk to someone about how you are feeling. SupportLine is a confidential telephone helpline which will enable you to talk to a helpline worker about what is going on for you. You will be listened to and believed. You can do this in complete confidence and anonymously and no action will be taken unless you want it to be taken. You will be in control of what happens unless the helpline worker feels your life is in danger and then will let you know what action they will take for your safety. There are also other helplines you can ring such as Childline which is a free 24hour helpline for children and young people. There may be someone in your family circle who you could talk to - an aunt, uncle, grandparent etc., or a school teacher or youth worker. It is important to get some support for yourself.

You may feel in some way responsible for the violence which is taking place - remember IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE.

You may feel guilty you cannot protect the parent who is being subjected to violence. IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT YOUR PARENT.

You may feel you are being disloyal to the parent who is being violent by speaking about what is happening within the home to other people. A PARENT WHO IS VIOLENT NEEDS HELP JUST AS THE PARENT WHO IS BEING SUBJECTED TO VIOLENCE NEEDS HELP.

These are all natural feelings to have and feelings which you can talk through with someone who understands what you are going through.


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Organisations which may be useful to you

  • SupportLine: 01708 765200
    email info@supportline.org.uk
    Telephone Helpline providing confidential emotional support to Children, Young People and Adults on any issue including domestic violence. Keeps details of other agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout the UK.

  • Childline: 0800 1111
    Free national helpline for Children and Young People in danger or distress.

  • Eighteen and Under: 0800 731 4080 (Area served SCOTLAND)
    Support, information and helpline to young people under 18 who have experienced any type of abuse.

  • Muslim Youth Helpline: 0808 808 2008 (Area served LONDON)
    email help@myh.org.uk
    Helpline providing culturally sensitive support to Muslim youth under the age of 25. Outreach services, including family mediation, face to face counselling and befriending.

  • National Youth Advocacy Service:
    0808 808 1001

    email help@nyas.net
    Provides information, advice, advocacy and legal representation to young people up to the age of 25 through a network of advocates through England and Wales.

  • The Mix (formerly Get Connected)
    0808 808 4994

    Essential support for under 25s. Phone, Email, Web support and Counselling. 

  • Youth Access: 020 8772 9900
    email admin@youthaccess.org.uk
    Telephone information on youth agencies across the UK for 14-25 year olds and referrals to them.

Useful websites

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If you think a child is being abused

If you think a child is being abused please report those concerns to the local Police Child Protection Team, Social Services Child Protection Team and/or the NSPCC. Please don’t leave it to someone else. After reporting your concerns if you think the abuse is still continuing then report it again. The NSPCC numbers to ring are below. Your local Police Child Protection Team and Social Services Child Protection Team can be found in your local phone book or by ringing directory enquiries.

Organisations which may be useful to you

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Adults experiencing domestic violence

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Although the majority of incidents involving domestic violence involves men being violent to women, men can be victims of domestic violence too. The first step is to recognise that you are in a violent relationship which won't change unless you do something about it.

Domestic violence includes physical, emotional, sexual or mental abuse.

  • Physical violence includes hitting, beating, kicking, slapping.
  • Emotional and mental abuse includes threatening to harm you, constantly intimidating and belittling you, bullying you and controlling you in respect of denying you access to friends and family, preventing you from leaving the home, constantly criticising everything you do and finding fault with you, calling you names and telling you that you are worthless.
  • Sexual violence includes being forced to have sex against your will, degrading you and hurting and abusing you.

It may be that the abuse has been going on for some time - perhaps even for years. You may be staying with your abusive partner for a variety of reasons:

Staying for the sake of the children : Children are often aware of the difficulties in their parents relationships. Children who are brought up in an atmosphere of fear, anger, rows, violence, often suffer tremendously because of the situation at home. They may become introverted, withdrawn, start wetting the bed, have difficulty in sleeping, try to avoid school, have difficulty in concentrating at school, have problems doing their homework, are reluctant to bring friends home which can lead to lack of friends and isolation, can exhibit behavioural problems both in and out of school, can become aggressive like the abusive parent, can experience feelings of confusion, sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, and may be dealing with this by using unhealthy coping strategies such as eating disorders and self harm. If your abusive partner is hitting you, he/she can also turn on your children and they may be at risk of abuse.

It is also giving your child an unhealthy role model to follow and the child could grow up to think it is perfectly acceptable to be abusive and violent which means your child could act in the same way when he/she becomes an adult and starts forming relationships. It is better for a child to be brought up in a happy, safe, secure, loving home by one parent than be brought up in a home where a parent is abusive to their partner and domestic violence is taking place. You have a responsibility to protect your children as they cannot protect themselves. If you are currently in this situation you need to ask yourself are you really doing the right thing by staying for the sake of your children?

Staying because you still think your partner will change. Your partner has to want to change and accept he/she has a problem. No doubt he/she is blaming you and is unwilling to see that he/she has a problem. Unless your partner admits the problem and seeks help it is highly unlikely your partner will change and the cycle of abuse may continue for years and years. If an abusive partner is willing to accept responsibility that he/she has a problem, and gets help, through hard work and determination and counselling, workshops etc. it is possible to change and to learn new patterns of behaviour but the person has to want to change and want to do something about it.

Staying because you still love your partner . Yes, you may still love your partner but it is possible to love someone and for it not to be healthy for you to stay in that relationship and be together. Each time your partner is abusive to you he/she no doubt apologises profusely, may buy you presents, flowers etc. and promises not to do it again and that it will never ever happen again. These are invariably false and empty promises. Your partner probably makes you feel that you are to blame for the violence and everything is your fault. Each time your partner is violent towards you it may be easier for you to block of the violence and focus on the times in between when he/she may seem caring and loving. That is not reality and you need to be able to accept the reality if you are ever able to move away from your abusive relationship.

The one place you should be able to feel safe and secure is in your own home. You should be able to have control over your own life, choices and decisions. In an abusive relationship you are not able to do this and in effect have little or no control over your own life. Abuse affects your self respect, self esteem, self worth, often making you believe you are a nothing and therefore don't deserve to be treated better.

You deserve to be treated with respect at all times, to be treated in a caring, loving way. To feel safe in your own home. You do not deserve to live in an atmosphere of fear. You may be staying because your self esteem is already low from previous abusive relationships, and perhaps abuse as a child. When are you going to stop the cycle of staying in abusive relationships? If you love someone but they are damaging your health, your safety, your self esteem, and controlling your life - is it really right to stay with that person? Do you not deserve to be happy, to take control of your own life, to be in a loving relationship, to feel safe in the world? Everyone deserves that and you have the strength within you to change your life and to move out of an abusive relationship.

There are agencies who can advise on accommodation, on legal matters, who can give emotional support and counselling to help build up your self esteem and to help you to move towards taking control of your own life and walking away from this relationship and abusive relationships in the future.

For anyone being subjected to domestic violence it is important to seek help and support for yourself. Talk to a confidential helpline, a trusted friend, a family member, your local Police Community Safety Unit. There are people who will want to help and support you in whatever way they can.

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Organisations which provide support and information for victims of domestic violence

  • Aanchal:
    0845 451 2547
    (serves London area)
    24 hour telephone helpline and services for Asian women who have experienced domestic violence, emotional support, group work and counseling. (based E15).

  • SupportLine:
    01708 765200

    email info@supportline.org.uk
    Telephone Helpline providing confidential emotional support to Children, Young Adults and Adults on any issue including domestic violence. Also keeps details of other agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout the UK.

  • Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
    Run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge, this is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. The Helpline can give support, help and information over the telephone, wherever the caller might be in the country. Also visit www.womensaid.org.uk to access the Survivor's Handbook for further advice on housing, legal issues and making a safety plan.

  • Action on Elder Abuse:
    0808 808 8141

  • Broken Rainbow:
    0300 999 5428
    Support for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people suffering domestic violence throughout UK.

  • The Freedom Programme:
    A 12 week rolling programme for women who wish to learn about the reality of domestic violence and abuse. Help women to gain self esteem and confidence to improve the quality of their lives. Programmes are fun at different locations throughout the country.

  • Hidden Hurt:

    Abuse Information and Support Site. Written by a survivor of domestic violence for those in abusive relationships.

  • Home Group
    www.homegroup.org.uk - click on Stonham Services
    Offers a number of domestic violence services across the UK including both floating support and woman's refuges. Confidential and personalized advice aimed at ensuring each individuals personal goals. Advice on the law and information on local domestic violence support.

  • Jewish Women's Aid:
    0808 801 0500

    Services for Jewish women experiencing domestic violence.

  • Live Fear Free
    0808 80 10 800
    24hr support for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence.

  • Rights of Women
    Rights of Women run Advice lines on Criminal and Family Law

  • Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline:
    0800 027 1234

    24 hour Helpline providing information and support for those affected by domestic abuse.

  • Victims Information Service:
    0808 168 9293
    Telephone information line run by Victim Support directs people towards the most appropriate support available in their area. They can also provide information to people about their entitlements as victims and, wherever appropriate provide immediate emotional support to vulnerable people.

    The new website provides factual information about what happens after a crime and what help victims can expect, as well as information on Restorative Justice and how victims of crime can go about claiming compensation. There is also a function which allows people to search for the services available in their local area.

  • Victim Support Helpline:
    0808 1689 111


  • Woman's Trust  
    020 7034 0303/0304
    email admin@womanstrust.org.uk
    Provide free confidential counselling and support services to women affected by domestic violence to women across London. Women can access our service through self-referral or agency referral.

Useful book

It's My Life Now: Starting Over After An Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Dugan, Roger Hock - Publishers Routledge: ISBN 0415923581
Click here to read more or buy this book

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Male victims of domestic violence

If you are a male victim of domestic violence, you may have found it difficult to find adequate help and support. Unfortunately there is still a belief among some that men simply cannot be victims of domestic violence. This can make it even more difficult for male victims to confide in anyone about what is happening which can lead to depression, despair, low self esteem, a feeling of hopelessness and isolation.

If you are a man who is being abused in this way there ARE people out there who can offer support, understanding, information, advice, help! People who will not ignore or dismiss what is happening to you, but people who will genuinely care and want to be there for you in whatever way they can.

If you are a victim of domestic violence there are some steps you can take:

  • Keep a diary of all incidents of abuse with dates, times and details of the abuse.
  • If you receive any injuries report this to your doctor and ensure that you tell him this was due to domestic violence.
  • If possible get photos of the injuries.
  • Don't leave home unless you are threatened (unless the situation is so bad that you need to leave for the sake of your health, safety, and state of mind).
  • Do try and tell family and friends exactly what is happening and do not cover up the abuse and/or make excuses for your partner.
  • If you are provoked do try not to retaliate otherwise your partner can manipulate this to look as though she/he is the injured party.
  • Seek legal advice as soon as possible.
  • Seek emotional support/counselling as soon as possible.

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Agencies offering support to Male Victims

  • AMIS (Abused Men in Scotland):
    0808 800 0024

    Information and support for men in Scotland who have experienced domestic abuse.

  • Broken Rainbow:
    0300 999 5428

    Support for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people suffering domestic violence throughout UK.

  • DABS (Directory and Book Services):
    07854 653118

    Mail order book catalogue company - personal development books and books relating to domestic violence, childhood abuse, depression, self esteem, assertiveness, stress and anxiety etc.

  • The Dyn Project (area served Wales):
    0808 801 0321

    Helpline providing support to all men who are experiencing domestic abuse in Wales.

  • Gemini Services:
    08700 664233
    N. Somerset Refuge for men fleeing domestic violence from any part of the country.
  • The Mankind Initiative: National Helpline
    01823 334244
    (also run local helplines across UK)
    Provide emotional support, information, advice, details of solicitors, legal rights, accommodation at a refuge in S.W.England.

  • Men's Advice Line:
    0808 801 0327

    Emotional support and practical advice.

  • SupportLine Telephone Helpline:
    01708 765200
    SupportLine provides emotional support and befriending to children, young people and adults on a wide variety of issues including support to male victims of domestic violence. We can also provide information on helplines and counsellors throughout the UK.

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Perpetrators of domestic violence

If you are violent in your relationship you are a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence and need to accept that fact and try and get help. If you are being physically violent, emotionally abusing your partner, intimidating your partner, controlling your partner, sexually abusing your partner - you are a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence.

Many perpetrators of domestic violence constantly put the blame on their partner - I'll stop hitting you if you do this - if you do that - if you stop winding me up - ifyou do what I say etc. etc. The only person who is responsible for your actions is YOU. By blaming others you are acting like a child - it is time to act like an adult and accept responsibility for your own actions. The time to get help is NOW - not to keep putting it off or denying that you need help. What you are doing is not only against the law but you are ultimately destroying another person, destroying their confidence, their trust, their self esteem and their respect for you.

If you don't get help to stop what you are doing this kind of behaviour will be carried on into all your relationships leaving broken relationships, unhappy relationships, fearful relationships for your partner. You have to want to get help for YOU, to be prepared to work hard on yourself and to face up to what you are doing and the damage you are causing your partner and also any children which may be involved in the relationship.

You may have been abusing your partner(s) for many years and got away with it as your partner has been too frightened to give evidence - THE LAW IS CHANGING AND THE LAW WILL CATCH UP WITH YOU. THE POLICE WILL BE ABLE TO PROSECUTE WITHOUT ALWAYS HAVING EVIDENCE OR A STATEMENT FROM YOUR PARTNER SO YOU NEED TO GET HELP TO STOP ABUSING BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE AND THE CHOICE WILL BE TAKEN OUT OF YOUR HANDS AND YOUR FREEDOM TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU. (It may also help you to read the section on Anger Management).

To be able to take responsibility for your actions and to stop blaming others takes strength and courage. Anyone who rules others through fear and intimidation is a cowardly weak person. If you are a perpetrator of domestic violence you can choose what kind of person you want to be - cowardly and weak (blaming others for your actions and continuing your abusive behaviour) or strong and courageous (facing up to and taking responsibility for your actions and getting help). If you choose the latter then try and get help now - there are agencies who can provide workshops and counselling to help you to stop this cycle of abuse.

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Agencies providing help and support for perpetrators of domestic violence

  • AVP Britain (Alternatives to Violence Project): 020 7324 4755
    Run workshops throughout the country for anyone who has niggly little resentments that become grudges, anyone who gets upset at being ignored, anyone who has difficulty with anger, anyone who is a bully or is bullied, in fact, anyone who wants an alternative to violence.

  • Care 2 Talk
    Call: 07564016066
    Care 2 Talk runs a Change Behaviour programme for women who use intimate partner violence and would like to address and change their behaviours. A SKYPE service for woman is offered for women who are unable to access a programme near to them. Aim is to support and teach women to make different choices, to stop using violence and abuse and to learn to use non abusive / non controlling behaviours.

  • Everyman Project: 020 7263 8884 (London based)
    National helpline for everyone concerned about violence. Counselling service for violent men who want to change

  • Respect: 0808 802 4040
    Advice and information for perpetrators of domestic violence. Also details of programmes and support services for perpetrators

  • The Freedom Programme:
    A 12 week rolling programme for any man who wishes to stop abusing women and children. Places are funded either privately or from various statutory agencies. Central location on the Wirral

  • The TRYangle Project:
    Domestic Violence & Abuse Intervention Programme
    020 8855 7564

    Domestic Violence Intervention Project based in S.E.London. Project for men who want to end violent or abusive behaviours towards a partner. Women's Support Service for (ex) partners of perpetrators

  • SupportLine Telephone Helpline: 01708 765200
    email info@supportline.org.uk
    Provides emotional support and details of counsellors and agencies throughout the UK

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