Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. The problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical.
Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.
If someone confides in you that they're suffering domestic abuse:
- Try to understand and take care not to blame or doubt them.
- Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse.
- Give them time to talk, but don't push them to talk if they don't want to.
- Don't pressure them to leave the relationship if they're not ready – that's their decision.
- If they have been physically harmed, offer to accompany them to a hospital or GP.
- Provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse.
- Help them to plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship – Women’s Aid have created a Survivors Handbook.
- Help them report the assault to the police if they choose to.
- Support them to visit a solicitor if they are ready to take this step.
- Offer the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and to look after an emergency bag for them.
- Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on children and young people. Read our information on safeguarding.
Look after yourself
It can be traumatic to hear about abuse. ‘Get support’ for yourself if you need it. Ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk. For example, don’t offer to talk to the abuser about your friend or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.
If you or someone you know has experienced domestic abuse, please let us know using the University’s Report and Support system. Report anonymously or provide us with contact details. If you give details, we’ll get in touch to discuss the potential next steps.