When a grown-up hurts another grown up in the family or threatens to hurt them this is called domestic abuse. It’s sometimes called ‘domestic violence’ and it can happen between boyfriends and girlfriends, people who are married or grown-ups who are part of the same family.
Domestic abuse can happen in all kinds of families and to all kinds of people and even if it’s not happening to you, you could get hurt too.
No one should be frightened of someone at home or scared that someone in their family is being hurt. No one should have to see or hear violence or abuse happening because it’s wrong and it can be very upsetting.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse can be:
Physical – hurting someone by doing things like hitting, pushing or kicking
Emotional – sayings things to frighten someone or make them feel bad such as telling them they are stupid, ugly or worthless
Controlling behaviour – stopping someone from acting freely such as keeping them from seeing their friends and family, not letting them have a job or not letting them spend money. Also forcing someone to do things that they don't feel comfortable doing.
What can I do?
If you need help straight away, always call the Police
Get in touch with our Children's Workers - we have special people at WAIS that you can talk to about what’s been happening to you or someone you’re worried about. They will listen to you and understand how you might be feeling. They can come and talk to you at school or somewhere else that’s safe for you. You can get in touch by
When you get in touch with us it’s important that you tell us
Your name - this doesnt have to be your real name.
How we can get in touch with you without the person you’re frightened of finding out – a phone number or email address where it’s safe to reply to you. This doesn’t have to be your home, it can be your school for example, but you will need to tell the person whose telephone number or email address it is that someone from Women’s Aid Integrated Services will be contacting them and what name you have given if you didn't leave your real name.)
When it’s safe for us to contact you.
One of our Children’s Workers will call you back within 2 days. If you call us on a Friday, it will be Monday before we can reply to you.
Speak to someone now on our helpline - It can really help to talk to someone and if you're not in immediate danger, you can ring our helpline any time of the day or night, every day of the year. Calls are free unless you're calling from a mobile phone and we won't tell anyone what you've said. You don't even have to tell us your name or where you live. Our helpline number is 0808 800 0340.
Call the police - If you need help straight away you should dial 999 and ask for the police. You’ll need to give your name, address and telephone number and tell the police what is happening. Don’t hang up because the police will call back to make sure the call is genuine and this could give your dad, step-dad or mum’s boyfriend the chance to tell them everything is okay and the call was a mistake. It is better to leave the phone off the hook so they can hear what is going on.
The police will come to your house and talk to your mum, dad or any other adults. They may even talk to you. They should make sure you are okay and have not been hurt. They may take away the person who was violent, shouting or threating to hurt someone. Whatever happens you should remember that it is not your fault and your dad, step-dad or mum’s boyfriend has got himself into trouble.
Tell someone what's happening - talking to someone like a teacher, doctor or another adult you trust can be a good idea. They will want to make sure that you and your mum are safe so they might want to talk to your mum too. If they are worried that you might get hurt they may have to tell someone else. They should always tell you what they are doing and who they are planning to talk to.
Call Childline or the NSPCC - If you are not in danger and can talk safely you can call Childline (0800 1111) or the NSPCC (0808 800 5000). You don’t have to tell them your name and the calls are free. They will listen to you, talk to you about what is happening and help you decide what you want to do next.
Need to know more?
It's normal to have lots of questions about domestic abuse and what might be happening to you and the Refuge website has some of the most frequently asked questions.
Domestic abuse can also happen between young people and teenagers who are in relationships. This website has lots of advice and information for young people who are worried about what’s happening in theirs - www.respectnotfear.co.uk
Visit the Hideout - a great website for children and young people with advice, real life stories and questions to answer if you're unsure whether it's happening to you - www.thehideout.org.uk
Make sure you know how to dial 999 and call for help
Tell someone you trust what’s happening - a teacher, doctor or another adult
Don’t try and stop a fight even if you feel you need to protect the person being hurt. This can be very dangerous and you may be hurt yourself
If you’re worried about a friend and think they might find the information on this website or other websites useful, don’t email a link to them unless you know it’s safe to do so.
What’s happening is not your fault
There are lots of people who can help you
You don’t have to deal with this by yourself
You can’t protect anyone in your family on your own and it’s not your responsibility to
Never try to stop a fight yourself, it’s dangerous. Get help if you can
Hitting or hurting someone is against the law. No-one has the right to do it
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