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One woman in four (and one man in six) in the UK will be a victim of domestic violence during their lifetime, according to research estimates. Children who grow up seeing or hearing abuse are also harmed and are more likely to experience abusive relationships in adulthood.

Domestic abuse is about how people use their power to control someone in a relationship - it can involve physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It includes forced marriage and honour-based violence. It can affect women and men and members of lesbian, gay. bisexual and transgender communities.

It's abuse if your partner, ex-partner or a family member:

  • threatens you
  • shoves or pushes you
  • makes you fear for your physical safety
  • puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem
  • controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family
  • is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations
  • frightens you

Where can you get help?

You don't have to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. You can:

  • talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife
  • call 0808 2000 247, the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge (calls from a landline are free)
  • For more information about safe guarding children and adults visit:
  • call 999 in an emergency

The Survivor's Handbook from the charity Women's Aid is free and provides information on a wide range of issues such as housing, money, helping your children and your legal rights. The handbook is available as a downloadable PDF in 11 languages.

For forced marriage and honour based violence, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151).

Broken Rainbow UK provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.

Men of any age can be victims of domestic violence or abuse, in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Help and support is available from Men's advice Line on 0808 801 0327 or Mankind on 01823 334 244.

If you think you have experienced abuse from your partner, ex-partner or a close family member, or you are being forced into marriage, call one of the helplines and talk to someone. They can help you to stay safe and live free from fear. They can tell you how to get legal advice and safe housing.


Sexual assault

Women and men who have been sexually assaulted can get confidential help, treatment and support at a sexual assault referral centre. Find your nearest sexual assault referral centre via NHS Choices.


Choose care at home if...

  • Your relationship is not violent or abusive


Choose GP, midwife or Health Visitor if...

  • You are experiencing any kind of domestic abuse
  • You need confidential advice on where to get help
  • Don't try to deal with a violent or abusive relationship on your own


Call 999 A&E if...

  • There is an immediate threat to you or your child
  • You fear for your safety
  • Phone 999, or get someone else to phone immediately
  • Move to a safe place: avoid the kitchen, and stay near a door
  • If in doubt, get out!

For more information about safe guarding children and adults visit:


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