Help for women

Help for women

Your partner does not have the right to dominate and control you. You and your children have the right to live in safety.


At Refuge we understand how difficult it can be to live with abuse.

You might feel scared, isolated and confused. You might feel too ashamed or afraid to tell anyone about your situation.

But you are not alone – Refuge is here for you.


Am I being abused?

Read our guide to recognising abuse and definition of domestic violence to learn more about domestic violence and the signs of abuse.

I’m being abused – what shall I do?

If you are being abused, try to remember the following:

  • Domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law
  • You’re not alone. One woman in four is abused during her lifetime
  • You don’t have to deal with this on your own. Talk to someone you trust or call the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls are confidential
  • The abuse is not your fault. You can’t make a man hit you – violence is a choice and only he is responsible
  • You cannot change your partner. He must accept responsibility for his behaviour
  • Abuse is hardly ever a one-off – it generally gets worse over time. And although abusive men can change, it is rare. View more about whether he will
  • If you are in danger, call 999. The police have a duty to investigate and charge. They can also offer you protection and help you find safe accommodation

The way forward

Recognising that you are being abused is an important step. Where you go from here is up to you.

You don’t have to decide whether to leave the relationship right away. Only you know what is the right decision for you. Take it one step at a time and with each achievement you’ll feel stronger.

Refuge is here to support you whatever you decide. We run a range of services, from refuges and a national helpline, to community-based schemes and support for women going through the courts. Read more about our services here.

At Refuge, we won’t judge you or tell you what to do. We won’t tell anyone you’ve been in touch with us. Although it may feel impossible now, you can rebuild your life free from violence and fear. We are here to help you.

Whatever you decide, your safety is always the priority. Read more about keeping safe and planning your departure.

More questions?

For more answers and suggestions, try looking around the website or reading our page of frequently asked questions. Or call the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline. Trained counsellors are there to listen and provide practical information and emotional support, every hour of the day.