Domestic Violence - How can I get help?

Authored by Dr Jacqueline Payne, 08 May 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Mary Harding, 08 May 2017

How can I get help if I am affected by domestic violence?

There are many organisations that help people experiencing domestic violence and abuse. The government, the police, the health service and several charity organisations all have options for you, and places you can turn to for help. You can get advice, practical help, or support, depending on what you need. Here are some of the possible options for you.

Dial 999/112/911 in an emergency.

If you live in the UK

Phone the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. This is free, confidential and always available. The person you speak to can give you information about help available to you, can discuss your options with you and help you make a choice. They won't force you to do anything you are not ready to do (such as phone the police or leave your partner). You may need somebody to talk to, and they can listen on the phone, or they can advise where you can go for counselling. They can refer you to a local support worker. If you wish to leave your partner, they can refer you to a place of safety (a refuge). They can refer you for legal advice.

Go to your GP. Your GP can help with any of the physical or mental ill effects of domestic violence, and offer support and treatment. They can refer you to the person in their team specially trained to help those experiencing domestic violence. This person may be able to help and support you, and help you to make a safety plan, or they may get help from the local MARAC. MARAC stands for Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference. It is a group of people who represent all the organisations who help those who experience domestic violence. This includes people from the police, social services, schools, women's aid/refuge, housing associations, health service and victim support service. They co-ordinate so that the relevant services for each person work together to protect and support them.

Police Domestic Violence Officers. Some officers are trained specially to offer advice and support to people experiencing domestic abuse. Your local police service may have additional information available.

Contact Women's Aid or visit their website. Women's Aid is a charity which helps women and children who experience domestic violence. There is a huge amount of useful information on their website. It includes recognising domestic violence and abuse, ways to get help, a "survivor's handbook", ways of keeping yourself safe, a website for children and young people affected by domestic violence ("The Hideout"), a forum for survivors, legal advice, and a wealth of other information.

If your abuser might consider getting specialist help

There are a number of possibilities. There are an increasing number of projects in the UK working with the perpetrators of domestic violence to try to prevent abuse. Your GP may know if there is a local one. The Respect Phoneline - 0808 802 4040 - is a charity which aims to provide help for perpetrators of domestic violence.

If you live outside the UK

Other helplines and agencies. There are many other sources of help worldwide, including support specifically for male victims of domestic abuse. An internet search or a local telephone book should reveal something for your area.

Further reading and references

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