What to do if you’re being abused

Accessing Domestic Abuse Support

  • If you are in an emergency situation, call 999
  • If you believe you are being abused, you can ring Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • Contact us for one-to-one support and to find out more about signing up for our online Peer Support Group Sessions

If you believe you or members of your family are in immediate danger, it is crucial that you get help as soon as possible.

If you are able to, call 999 and speak to the Police. If you can’t leave the house, go to the safest place you can, staying away from potentially dangerous objects such as tools and knives.

How to call the police when you can’t speak
If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and listen to the questions from the operator and, if you can, respond by coughing or tapping on the handset.

Call 999 from a mobile
If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard and this will transfer your call to the police. Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.

Call 999 from a landline
If the operator can only hear background noise and cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, you will be connected to a police call handler.

If you replace the handset, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick up again.

When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

If you are deaf or can’t use a phone
You can register with the emergencySMS. Text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.

The situation escalating

If you are worried about the situation escalating, try to plan how you can escape safely.

Make sure you have a safe place to go, this could be a domestic abuse refuge or a home of a trusted family member or friend.

If you think you need to go into refuge you can contact the Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247) when it is safe for you to do this.

If you have a friend, co-worker, neighbour or family member you can trust – put a code in place. An example of a code could be a word, a phrase or an emoji that you text them for if you need them to help you escape.

Keep your phone charged at all times.

Keep a list in your head of items you may need to take with you, such as:

Your driving licence
Your passport
Essential items such as clothes and money
Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
Benefit letters (if applicable)
Tenant agreements

If you know you are going to escape it may be best to collect the above items earlier and leave them at a trusted person’s house.

If you have children, you can keep some of their clothes and toys at said person’s house.

How to report domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a crime and should be reported to the police.

If you don’t want to report it to the police, there are services that we can signpost you to in your local area. Contact us on our contact form on the website for more information.

You can contact your local neighbourhood policing team by finding their number online.

You can contact the police anonymously if it’s a friend/ neighbour in danger.

Police take domestic abuse claims seriously and will be able to help you.

If you need advice or someone to talk to about your options, please contact us.

Staying safe while looking for resources

Top tips for staying safe from your abuser if you live in close proximity with them while you’re looking for resources on domestic abuse.

1) Clear recent history after searching for help
2) Have a separate tab open that you can quickly jump onto if they come into the room, we recommend the google home page or an online newspaper
3) Search in a safe place

Deleting your browser history:

If you are on this website on a device that your abuser may find and don’t want them to see that you are on the road to getting help, clear your internet history or use ‘incognito’ or ‘private’ browsing mode to look for support without being tracked or history being saved to your device.

You can do this by going to the history tab of your browser (the process can vary slightly depending on which one you use), click ‘show all history’ or ‘view history’, it will take you to a list of your browsing history.  Once you are there click ‘clear browsing data’ or ‘clear browsing history’ depending on your browser.

You could clear data from the past hour rather than all data, to make it look less suspicious.