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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse involves a person using behaviours to hurt, harm or control another person.

It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality or religion, but we also know that women are disproportionally affected.

Domestic abuse now has a legal definition – and it is a criminal offence. It is not something to be hidden or ignored and there is support available.

It can take many forms and can be difficult to spot – even for those who are experiencing it. Abuse may be psychological and emotional, physical, sexual, financial and economic, stalking and harassment, online or digital, elder abuse, adolescent to parent, honour-based violence, or forced marriage.

Some of the signs of domestic abuse are:

  • Bullying, threats and control
  • Taking control of your finances
  • Becoming isolated or cut off from family, friends or other support networks
  • Physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Monitoring or limiting going out or using technology
  • Accusations of infidelity or flirting

These can have a huge effect on someone’s life, including relationships with friends and family, work life and self-confidence. Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on children too, with lifetime effects – by seeing, hearing or experiencing the behaviours means they are considered as victims too.

Get support from Stonewater

Support from other organisations

National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247

National Centre for Domestic Violence - 0800 970 2070
Helping survivors obtain civil orders

Women’s Aid - 0117 9444 411
National organisation for women experiencing domestic abuse

ManKind - 01823 334244
Helping men escape domestic abuse

Men’s Advice Line - 0808 801 0327
Confidential advice, non-judgmental support for male victims of domestic abuse

Galop - 0800 999 5428
National Helpline for LGBT+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence

Supporting older victims of abuse

Karma Nirvana
Working to end honour-based abuse

Forced Marriage Unit - 020 7008 0151
Government unit support for professionals, victims and those at risk

Charity offering support to those experiencing domestic abuse

Suzy Lamplugh Trust - 0808 802 0300
National stalking helpline

Respect Helpline - 0800 802 4040
For anyone worried about their own behaviour

Bright Sky app
Bright Sky is a mobile app and website for anyone experiencing domestic abuse or wanting help for someone they know, with signposting to local support

Hollie Guard
Turn your smartphone into a safety device

Ask for ANI in a participating pharmacy.

‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo displayed, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone, and ask if you need support from the police or other services.