Someone I live with is abusing me – what can I do?

If you are being abused by someone you live with, try to get help as soon as you can. Help is available from the police and other local services.

If you’re worried someone is watching what websites you look at, Stop Domestic Abuse have advice on how to cover your tracks online.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is any kind of abuse from someone you live with or have a close relationship with.

Abuse is any behaviour that harms, punishes, or frightens you. This can include:

  • Physical assault.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Financial abuse.
  • Emotional abuse.
  • Humiliation.
  • Intimidation.

Coercive control is an ongoing pattern of acts of abuse that might include any of these.

People of any gender can abuse or be abused. Domestic abuse, including coercive control, is illegal in the UK.

Recognising the signs

Abuse can take many forms. If you or someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, it’s useful to recognise the signs.

Am I in an abusive relationship? (Women’s Aid)

Urgent help

If you or your family are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

  • If it’s not safe to speak on the phone, press 55 on a mobile once you’re through to the 999 operator. This will transfer the call to the police. You can then tap or cough to answer.
  • Dialling 999 from a landline gives the police your location. They will not know your location if you call from a mobile.

You can also register in advance to be able to text 999.

If you don’t want to involve the police, domestic abuse charities can also help you get to safety. These helplines have limited hours unless stated as 24hr.

Women and children

National Domestic Abuse Helpline:

  • 24 hour telephone helpline: 0808 2000 247.
  • BSL support.
  • Webchat.


Respect: Mens Advice Line

  • Webchat.
  • Telephone helpline.


  • Telephone helpline.

LGBTQ+ people


  • Webchat.
  • Telephone helpline.

Loving Me – for transgender and non-binary people

  • Telephone helpline.
  • Email support.

Young people (under 19)


  • 24 hour telephone helpline.
  • Email support.
  • BSL interpreters.
  • Welsh-speaking support.

Forced marriage and honour crimes 

Karma Nirvana

  • Telephone helpline.

Local support 

These helplines listed should all be UK wide. There are also national services in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales who give support to anyone in these countries who is affected by domestic abuse.

Northern Ireland

Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline

  • 24 hour telephone support.
  • Live chat.
  • Email support.


Scotland’s 24 hr Domestic abuse and Forced Marriage helpline

  • 24hr telephone helpline.
  • Text relay support.
  • BSL support.
  • Interpreters into various other languages.


Live Fear Free

  • Telephone helpline (24hr)
  • Text support (24hr)
  • Email support (24hr)

Don’t wait for an emergency

If you feel able to talk to someone you trust, don’t wait for an emergency to do so.

If you have children or are pregnant you could talk to your:

  • GP.
  • Midwife.
  • Health Visitor.
  • Child’s nursery or school.
  • Local Children’s Services.

These people will be able to help you to understand what your next steps may be.

You can also contact the police for advice.

Making a safety plan

Planning how to leave an abusive situation can help protect you and your children. IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) have useful advice on how to make a plan.

Making a safety plan – IDAS

Worried about money?

If your abuser is controlling your finances, help is available. Scope have advice on how to get

Financial support to leave an abusive home (Scope)

Getting to a safe space - Ask for Ani

Many pharmacies and banks across the country are part of the UK Says No More safe space scheme.

If you need to access a safe space to start getting help, you can find your nearest safe space provider.

You can then go there and ask a member of staff to use their safe space. You can also ask for Ani. This is a code word that means you are asking for a safe space.

You will be shown to a private room that you can use however you need to. For example, you contact friends, family, or specialist support services.

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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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