If you think someone you know has been experiencing relationship abuse, there are lots of ways in which you can help them.  

Disclosures can come in many forms; it could be something said jokingly, a story that someone starts to tell then stops and says it doesn't matter, or it could be a question. You are not expected to be a professional counsellor; however how someone responds to a first disclosure can be really important. It can take time for a person to decide what they want to do and how they want to move forward.  

  • Are they in immediate danger? If they 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 they feel safe. If this isn't possible and you are on campus you can suggest they call Security on 01227 922355.  
  • Safe Zone. You can also use the Safe Zone app to immediately contact Security if you are on campus.  
  • Relationship abuse is a crime of power and control. The most important thing is to respond in a way that maximizes their choice and control over what happens next. You can simply ask them what they need or want. They might not make the same decision you would; however, only they can decide what is best for them. You can help them explore options, but avoid telling them what they should do. 

For students 

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.

Extenuating Circumstances. If you feel your studies have been affected by what has happened you can consider applying for mitigating circumstances. An advisor in your school will be able to provide more information. 
For staff 

Supporting you at work. The University has a range of support available for employees who are experiencing personal difficulties. 

CiC provide a confidential listening and guidance service, including access to counselling, specialist advice for legal or financial concerns, a website with information and signposting, and a dedicated advice line for those who manage other staff. The login details for this site are: 

Username: Canterburylogin 

Password: wellbeing 

Alternatively, you can speak to an advisor by calling 0800 085 1376

Big White Wall is an online support and recovery service for staff who are feeling low, stressed or anxious. It is fully anonymous, and includes a safe community of members moderated by trained professionals, self-assessment tools, and guided support courses for specific issues. 

OHWorks is our Occupational Health provider, who undertake health assessments for new starters, provide recommendations for adjustments and phased returns for staff returning to work after sickness absence, conduct health surveillance for staff exposed to hazards through their work, and offer advice and vaccinations for those travelling abroad for work. 

More information about these services, including referral forms, guidance documents and stress risk assessments can be found here

Chaplaincy. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe - as a member of Canterbury Christ Church University, the Chaplaincy is there for you. 

Trade Unions. There are three trade unions that represent staff at the University: Unison, Unite and UCU. 

Employee networks. The University has a number of staff network groups. They are a fantastic way to network with people from all over the University, build contacts, share experiences, arrange events and socialise. 

Listen. Just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help. These six active listening tips might help you support them.

Give options. When they have finished talking ask them if they are ok to talk through some possible options and next steps. Remember, it is important that they decide what they want to do. 

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. 

  • Reporting to the police. If you're thinking of reporting to the police, Rape Crisis have produced a useful list of things to think about
  • Reporting the incident anonymously. You can call Crime Stoppers at any point on 0800 555 111 or use their online form
  • 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. 
  • University Procedure. If you choose to make a formal complaint to the University against a student or a member of staff there are procedures which set out the steps you’ll need to follow.

In situations of domestic or relationship abuse, individuals are often most at risk at the point when they decide to leave the relationship. If the perpetrator gets the impression they are losing control over the individual they are abusing they can get more violent. It is for that reason that we recommend gaining expert support for individuals experiencing domestic or relationship abuse as soon as possible. 

Take care of yourself. It’s important that you take care of yourself. If you’ve heard something distressing or if something is troubling you, the University’s Mental Wellbeing Team offers confidential help to students. 



There are two ways you can tell us what happened