Civilian Support Services

Man in despair

No one deserves to be assaulted, abused or humiliated; it is important to tell someone and ask for help.  There are many support services, both local and national, that can help victims of domestic abuse.  Some of the main organisations are detailed below.

Police.   Call 999 if it is an emergency, or someone is in immediate danger.  The police are there to help.  They take domestic abuse seriously and will be able to protect victims.  If it is not an emergency, to speak to the police call 101 and ask for the local team that deals with domestic abuse.

National Health Service (NHS). Those who work within the NHS are trained to provide support to victims of domestic abuse.  Anyone can speak in confidence to their GP, midwife or health visitor.  Alternatively dial ‘111’ and speak to a nurse; this is a 24 hour confidential telephone service that provides advice and health information.

Local Support. There are many groups and services that provide local support and signposting to victims, perpetrators, children and young people affected by domestic abuse.  Support varies according to the need of the individual, and includes the chance to meet others who are in a similar situation.  To find out what services are available in your area type ‘domestic abuse’ into the search tool on either your local or county council website.  Computer access is available at local libraries, with additional information on local support services available through Women’s Aid (see below).

Female Victims. There are a number of national organisations that support female victims.  Women’s Aid is one of the main ones, and together with Refuge they operate a 24hr national helpline – 0808 2000 247.  The helpline provides information, support and a listening ear, and can signpost to emergency refuge accommodation when appropriate.  The Women’s Aid website is available at Women’s Aid and contains a lot of very useful information, including the Survivor’s Handbook which addresses many of the issues faced by victims of domestic abuse.

Male Victims. The Men’s Advice Line provides support and information for male victims of domestic abuse.  They offer a freephone helpline – 0808 801 0327 – which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.  They can also be contacted by e-mail at info@mensadviceline.org.uk.  They aim to return all calls and reply to e-mails within two working days.  More information is available at Men’s Advice LineIn addition, the ManKind Initiative (often referred to as ManKind) is a national charity that provides help and support to male victims; more information can be found at ManKind.  Mankind offers a confidential helpline – 01823 334244.  The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Relationships. Broken Rainbow provides a helpline service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; more information can be found at Broken Rainbow.  The freephone helpline is 0800 999 5428, and is open Monday and Thursday (10am to 8pm), Tuesday and Wednesday (10am to 5pm), Friday (1pm to 5pm).  They can also be contacted by e-mail at help@brokenrainbow.org.uk.

Rape.   Advice on reporting a rape or sexual assault can be found at Report Rape and Sexual Assault , and includes information for people who do not want to approach the police.  In addition, Rape Crisis provides support and counselling to anyone over 16 who has suffered any sexual abuse or assault, however long ago.  More information can be found on the following websites:

Stalking. The Network for Surviving Stalking provides support throughout the UK to victims, potential victims and others affected by stalking.  It also raises awareness and provides information about stalking and harassment to professionals, relevant agencies and the public.  More information can be found at Network for Surviving Stalking.  In addition, the National Stalking Helpline provides guidance and information to anybody who is, or has previously been, affected by harassment or stalking.  More information can be found at National Stalking Helpline.  The helpline is – 0808 802 0300, and is open 9:30am to 4pm weekdays (except Wednesday 1pm to 4pm).  Alternatively e-mail on advice@stalkinghelpline.org. More information can be found at Report a Stalker.

Digital Safety.   The Digital Trust helps people who are experiencing Digital Abuse, Cyber-bullying, Harassment, Stalking and Trolling. More information can be found here, and includes safety, social media and mobile advice, as well as advice for victims of domestic abuse.

Female Genital Mutilation. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal.  It is also illegal to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM, or to help someone who is trying to do this.  For more information go to:

  • FGM, or the NSPCC links detailed below:
  • NSPCC – FGM Helpline – 0800 028 3550
  • NSPCC – FGM Factsheet FGM Factsheet

Legal Advice and Information. Local solicitors can provide legal advice to address immediate and long term needs e.g. non-molestation orders, occupation orders, issues around child contact.  In some cases legal aid may be available; eligibility can be confirmed by a legal aid family solicitor or through the website Eligibility Calculator.  Some solicitors are able to provide a free initial assessment or fixed fee options.  To find a local solicitor go to either Legal Aid or the Law Society.  The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) is able to assist in obtaining emergency injunctions where there has been a recent physical assault or threat.  Their support is short term and more specific; for additional information see NCDV.  Citizens Advice Bureau can provide advice on legal options as well as benefit entitlement.  It is possible to arrange an appointment with an advisor through their website, which also details factsheets and contact details; see Citizens Advice.  Rights of Women works to achieve justice and equality by informing, educating and empowering women on their legal rights; more information is available here.

Divorce and Child Residency Arrangements.   Information regarding the care of children when a couple divorce or separate can be found here.