Relationship abuse can happen to anyone by anyone. This page aims to help you find out how to recognise the signs and where to get help. 

If you're worried someone might see you have been on this page, find out how to cover your tracks online. 

Relationship abuse, also called domestic violence or domestic abuse, can include emotional, psychological, physical, financial and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members. 

  • Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile). 
  • Finding a safe space. If possible try and find somewhere you feel safe. If this isn't possible and you are on campus you can call Security on 01227 922355.  
  • Safe Zone. You can also use the Safe Zone app to immediately contact Security if you are on campus.  
  • If it is not an emergency, you can speak to your GP/healthcare professional or call the police non-emergency number 101 or attend any local police station. 
Recognising the signs of domestic violence and abuse: 

There are different kinds of abuse, but it's always about having power and control over you.  
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may have an abusive partner or family member. 

Emotional abuse 

Does the person ever: 
  • Belittle you, or put you down? 
  • Blame you for the abuse or arguments? 
  • Deny that abuse is happening, or play it down? 
  • Isolate you from family and friends? 
  • Stop you going to University or work? 
  • Make unreasonable demands for your attention? 
  • Accuse you of flirting or having affairs? 
  • Tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think? 
  • Control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?  
Psychological abuse 

Does the person ever: 
  • Call you names? 
  • Shout or swear at you? 
  • Ignore or isolate you? 
  • Exclude you from meaningful events or activities? 
  • Threaten to hurt or kill you? 
  • Destroy things that belong to you? 
  • Stand over you, invade your personal space? 
  • Threaten to kill themselves or the children? 
  • Read your emails, texts or letters? 
Physical abuse 

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways. Do they ever: 
  • Slap, hit or punch you? 
  • Push or shove you?  
  • Bite or kick you? 
  • Burn you?  
  • Choke you or hold you down? 
  • Throw things?  
Financial abuse 

Does the person ever: 
  • Control how money is spent? 
  • Give you an “allowance”? 
  • Deny you direct access to bank accounts, loans or grants? 
  • Forbid you from working? 
  • Run up large debts on joint accounts without your permission or take actions that lead to you having bad credit? 
  • Force you to be involved in fraudulent activity? 
  • Spend money on themselves but not allow you to do the same? 
  • Give you presents or pay for things and expect something in return? 
Sexual abuse 

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they're male or female. Does the person ever: 
  • Touch you in a way you don't want to be touched? 
  • Make unwanted sexual demands? 
  • Hurt you during sex? 
  • Pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom? 
  • Pressure you to have sex (including with other people)? 
  • If someone has sex with you when you don't want to, this is rape, even if you are in a relationship.
A third of domestic violence and abuse against women escalates during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse. Find out more about domestic violence in pregnancy. 


If you think you may be in an abusive relationship or experiencing abuse from a family member, there are lots of people who can help you. 
  • To a friend. Talking things through with someone you trust can sometimes help. 
  • Student Support and Wellbeing Advisers. The Advisers support students in making informed decisions through one-to-one conversations, be it related to personal, general wellbeing, financial, housing, or academic matters. The Wellbeing Advisers can be a triage service to other more specialist areas within the Student Support, Health and Wellbeing Department, including  Mental Wellbeing and  Disability Services . If we cannot help, we can link in with the other departments within the University who can, and any external services and resources, where possible.
  • Independent specialist support. Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse Service provide confidential, non-judgmental support to women and girls living, studying or working in the area who are experiencing gender-based violence. Call 01227 452852 (Mon-Fri 09:00 – 16:30).
  • You can also call the national domestic violence number - this is open 24/7 and can be anonymous: 0808 2000 247.

In an emergency: 
  • Report to A & E. Call 999 and request an ambulance.
  • Report to Police. Call 999 - there is an option for silent support if talking will put you in danger.  
If it is not an emergency, you can speak to your GP/healthcare professional or call the police non-emergency number 101 or attend any local police station. 

Rights of Women have detailed advice about reporting to the police and a guide to criminal investigations. 

Report and Support. Students and staff can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. You can choose to do this anonymously or you can request support from an advisor. If you choose to talk to an advisor they will be able to talk through the options and support available to you, in confidence. 



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