If you think someone you know has been experiencing domestic 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.  

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. The What Support is Available page has extensive information on various support that is available to persons who have been subject to Domestic Abuse. 
  • Are they in immediate danger? If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you can call 999 
  • 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.  
  • Domestic 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. 
In situations of domestic abuse, individuals are often most at risk at the point when they decide to leave the relationship. 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 Health and Wellbeing Team offers confidential help to students.

For more information and to find out more about using Report and Support, please take a look at these pages

There are two ways you can tell us what happened