Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. All genders can be abused or abusers. In the majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.  It’s described as any incident or pattern of incidents that are: controlling, coercive, threatening, violent.  It is called domestic abuse because it affects those in a relationship, the whole family or all those living together in a home.  It affects those who witness the abuse and the wider family and friends who are aware of the abuse. Children are recognised in their own right as victims. Domestic abuse can happen:

  • inside and outside the home
  • over the phone, on the internet and on social networking sites
  • in any relationship and can continue even after the relationship has ended
  • to any gender. Anyone can be abused or abusers.

UK government definition of domestic abuse “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality”


What to do if you’re experiencing domestic abuse

In an emergency situation, or someone’s life is in danger call 999

To report abuse please:

If you’re worried someone might see you have visited a domestic violence help page, the Women’s Aid website tells you how to cover your tracks online.


Types of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse (also known as domestic violence) can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological.  It is revealed through patterns of behaviour such as:

  • kicking, hitting, punching or cutting
  • sex or a sexual act without your consent, rape, unwanted sexual demands
  • controlling someone’s finances by withholding money or stopping someone earning
  • controlling behaviour, like telling someone where they can go and what they can wear
  • not letting someone leave the house
  • reading your emails, text messages or letters
  • threatening to kill someone or harm them
  • forced or predatory marriage
  • threatening another family member or pet
  • belittling you
  • making unreasonable demands for attention
  • destroying things that belong to you or family members
  • stalking

Read more about adult abuse on InformationNOW


Signs of domestic abuse

It can be difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening. Abusers can act very differently when other people are around. There are signs that family members, children and young people have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse which include:

Read more about how to recognise domestic abuse from Women’s Aid

Children may also show these signs

  • attention seeking
  • bed-wetting, nightmares or insomnia
  • constant or regular sickness, like colds, headaches and mouth ulcers
  • problems in school or trouble learning
  • tantrums

Effects of domestic abuse

Living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as  behaviour. With children and young people this can last into adulthood.

What’s important is to make sure the abuse stops and the family and particularly children  and young people have a safe and stable environment to grow up in.

NHS Domestic violence or abuse information


Domestic abuse support services

Newcastle Integrated Domestic Abuse Service they:

  • have a refuge for women and their children who are moving from abusive relationships. It’s open 24 hours a day.
  • support men who need alternative housing to leave abusive relationships
  • offer an outreach service where they support people at risk of abuse
  • give independent advice about domestic and sexual violence for victims at high risk of harm
  • offer support with housing and legal issues, access to benefits, training, employment and finding schools and childcare

Newcastle Women’s Aid offer 1 to 1 or group support to help recover after experiencing domestic abuse.

Changing Lives offer help for those needing accommodation when escaping abuse.

Victims First support witnesses to crime, violence and assault.

Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Newcastle Sanctuary Scheme helps people at risk of domestic abuse to remain safely in their own home. They can provide enhanced security measures on your property and specialist support.  YHN can support their tenants of all tenures and home owners. To use this scheme you need to be referred by a support service such as:


Women, children and families support services

  • Refuge provide a 24 hour helpline and provide specialist accommodation and support to women and children escaping domestic violence and other forms of violence and abuse.
  • Newcastle Integrated Domestic Abuse Service has a refuge for women and their children who are moving from abusive relationships. It’s open 24 hours a day.
  • West End Women and Girls Centre carry out preventative work and offer support and courses to victims of domestic abuse including the Safe 4 Life programme.
  • Barnardo’s is a children’s charity that run over 1,000 services in local communities, and support around 300,000 children, young people and families every year. This includes families affected by domestic abuse.
  • Stop Abuse Together – It’s important to know how to spot the potential signs of child sexual abuse and where to go for support. This government website brings together advice and resources to help you keep the children in your life safe.
  • Angelou Centre supports black and minoritised women in Newcastle, who are survivors of violence or abuse and their children. This includes forced marriage, honour based abuse, modern day slavery and support for women with no recourse to public funds. They offer emotional support, information, counselling and accommodation

Men’s support services

  • Men’s Advice Line provides a range of services aimed primarily at men experiencing domestic abuse from their partner.
  • ManKind Initiative  helps and supports male victims of domestic abuse and violence.
  • Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Sexual assault support services

  • REACH is the north east SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) providing 24-hour crisis intervention and support for anyone who has experienced a sexual offence, regardless of when the offence occurred or whether the incident was reported to the police or not.
  • Rape Crisis is a charity that provides sexual violence services to women and girls over the age of 13 who live, work or study in Tyneside and Northumberland.  They provide free, safe, professional support and information for women and girls over 13 who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives. They offer: counselling, telephone helpline, email support, practical and emotional support and specialist information.
  • Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Emotional support services

  • Breathing Space provides practical and emotional support to survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. It’s an app that can be used on any device, including a computer browser. Helping you find the right support at the right time with an easy-to-use signposting section. As many perpetrators of abuse monitor website use or phones to further control their victims it is designed so you can exit information quickly to a website of your choice such as BBC weather.
  • Harbour provides online help and a 24 hour telephone line for families and individuals who are affected by abuse from a partner, former partner or other family member.
  • Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Forced or predatory marriage

Forced or predatory marriage is a type of domestic abuse. It is when someone pressurises, persuades, and/or forces someone to marry them, for their own purposes or gain. This could be to take their money, inherit their property or to control them.

Predatory marriage can happen to anyone. Often adults who don’t have the mental capacity to give their consent to marriage are targeted. For example, someone with dementia.

It is illegal to force someone into a marriage without their agreement or consent. Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

This abuse can be difficult to spot. There are some signs to look out for such as, a new friendship that doesn’t seem quite right or someone moving into their home.

Contact Community Health & Social Care Direct if you are worried about the abuse or neglect of an adult in Newcastle.

Predatorymarriage.uk has more information about the signs of forced marriage. It includes a useful ‘Did you know’ section.


“Honour” based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation support services

  • Angelou Centre supports black and minoritised women in Newcastle, who have experienced violence or abuse. This includes forced marriage, honour based abuse, modern day slavery and support for women with no recourse to public funds. They offer emotional support, information, counselling and accommodation
  • Halo Break the Silence Project supports women to prevent forced marriage, female genital mutilation or honour based violence with awareness, protection and a live online chat
  • IKWRO provides advice and support to Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls living in the UK who are facing Forced Marriage, Child Marriage, “Honour” Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Domestic Violence. They offer advice in Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Pashto and English and run a free counselling service in Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and English
  • Karma Nirvana run the national Honour Based Abuse Helpline.
  • Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBTQ+) support services

  • Galop provides hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence support services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans + victims and survivors by telephone, email, text and WhatsApp.
  • Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Pharmacies where you can Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately)

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) is a codeword scheme developed by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of their local pharmacy.

You can ask for ANI in Boots, Lloyds and community pharmacies to let staff know that you need an emergency police response, or help to contact a helpline or specialist support service.


Support in other languages

  • SignHealth  provides domestic abuse service support for deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Chayn provides online help and resources in several languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.
  • Three steps to escaping Domestic Violence  a free downloadable GOV.UK leaflet available in 13 different languages

Older people support services

  • We Are Hourglass (formerly Action on Elder Abuse)  is a charity which provides information and support to older people who have experienced or are concerned about abuse. They have a confidential helpline which provides information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse.
  • Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Online abuse support

The Revenge Porn Helpline supports adult victims of intimate image abuse who live in the UK. They provide advice, guidance and support with helping to remove intimate content which has been non-consensually shared online.

StopNCII.org is a free tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse.

Victim Support (VS) helps people affected by crime and traumatic events. They provide individual, independent, emotional and practical help to you to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Read more on Cyber Crime on InformationNOW


Perpetrators of domestic abuse –  support to change their behaviour

Respect helps people who use violence or abuse in their relationships to change their behaviour. They have a free telephone helpline, web chat and email service where you can get advice and support. They have a range of online information to help you to change.

They also have information for victims of abuse, family, friends and for professionals


Pet support services

Dogs Trust Freedom Project is a free and confidential dog fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse and going into refuge.


Training available

Wearside Women in Need (WWiN) are working in partnership with Harbour to deliver FREE Ask Me Community Ambassador training online for people who live, study, work or volunteer in North Tyneside, Northumberland or Newcastle. Sign up through this link Women’s Aid Our approach: change that lasts – askme or email [email protected] and one of the team will be in touch.

Newcastle Women’s Aid run the freedom programme and support the Ask Me Ambassador programme


Legal advice

FLOWS offers a free legal advice and support to front-line workers working with women responding to domestic abuse. They can advise women themselves.

North East Law Centre have a dedicated Family solicitor to support the FLOWS project and provides legal advice and support to vulnerable victims of domestic violence and crime.

Rights of women give free legal advice and information to women on legal issues including: domestic violence, child contact, sexual violence, the criminal justice process, immigration and asylum, divorce, relationship breakdown and sexual harassment. They have 4 free telephone helplines


How to contact the Police if speaking or making a noise would put you in danger

The Silent Solution police system 

If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard to let the 999 operator know your call is genuine. All 999 calls are directed to call centres where you are asked which service you need. If no service is requested but something suspicious is heard during your call, BT operators will connect you to a police call handler if you can communicate with them using the steps described below:

  1. Listen to the call handlers questions
  2. Cough or tap the handset if possible
  3. Press 55 if prompted, to let them know your call is genuine. You can then be put through to the police
  4. If calling from a landline the silent solution can’t be used. They will try to ask you questions and get a response from you. If they can’t decide if your call is genuine, the call may be ended. However the call may stay connected for 45 seconds. Pick up the handset again to let the police know your call is genuine. If the call handler is worried about your safety you’ll be connected to your local police. Calling from a landline gives the call handler more information about your location.

Read more about the Silent Police Solution.


Training for staff and volunteers

Safe Newcastle is the Community Safety Partnership for Newcastle upon Tyne. They run training for managers, paid staff and volunteers to help you recognise the signs of domestic abuse and know how to respond. They also run training about preventing radicalisation.


Other online resources

  • Operation Sanctuary continuing support
  • Fearless.org provides non-judgemental information and advice about crime. You can send information about a crime anonymously using their website. It educates and empowers young people about crime, allowing them to feel Fearless when speaking up against crime
  • SafeLives has online resources for survivors, professionals and policymakers. This includes covid related information
  • Against Violence and Abuse has online resources which includes sections on supporting survivors, professional self-care and a Covid-19 resource hub
  • Your Best Friend have a campaign, FriendscanTell, and their online tool is designed by young people to help you recognise and safely manage concerns about abuse in their friend’s relationship.

Staying safe in Newcastle

You can read more information about staying safe in Newcastle on InformationNOW

Hate crime article on InformationNOW which explains how to report hate crime and where you can get support.

Personal safety

Anti social behaviour

Prevent Newcastle work to protect vulnerable people and children from being targeted and persuaded to support extremist views, known as radicalisation. Signs of radicalisation are a change in someone’s behaviour. They may become withdrawn, seem angry,  spend more time online and express strong or violent views. If you’re worried, contact Prevent.

Last updated: November 10, 2023