Where to get help if you’ve been abused or assaulted

These organisations can help you if you’re dealing with abuse, assault or violence.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and talk to the police.

If making a sound would put you in danger, call 999 and press 55 to reach the police.

Find out more about calling the police when you cannot speak.

Domestic abuse and violence

Domestic abuse does not always involve physical violence. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Domestic abuse is the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a partner or family member.

Research shows that most domestic abuse is carried out against women. But domestic abuse and violence can happen to anyone.

It can be hard to take the first step, but there are lots of people who can help you. And they understand the need to keep you safe. They can help you without anyone else finding out.

If you need support with a controlling, abusive or violent relationship, reach out to these organisations:

  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline - call for free and in confidence, 24 hours a day: 0808 2000 247

  • Mankind Initiative - support for men who have experienced abuse from a partner. Their confidential helpline is open weekdays, 10am-4pm: 01823 334 244

  • Victim Support  - call the Supportline for free, confidential support: 0808 1689 111 or use their live chat service.

You can also find help and support for domestic abuse on GOV.UKand onthe NHS

Sexual assault 

Sexual assault is when someone touches you in a sexual way without your permission or consent.

If you don’t want to have sex, you have the right to say no. You should never feel pressured into having sex, for example:

  • being made to feel scared or uncomfortable by the person or people you are having sex with

  • being made to do something sexual that you didn’t want to do

  • feeling that you can’t say no to sex

  • being told that if you loved your partner you would say yes

If you have experienced rape, sexual assault or abuse, find your nearest specialist Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). They can help with medical, emotional and practical support. They have specially trained medical staff and support workers ready to help anyone, confidentially and for free.

Find your nearest SARC

They offer:

  • first aid and advice

  • emergency contraception

  • specialist support and practical advice

  • a forensic medical examination to collect evidence, but only if you want this to happen

  • medical aftercare including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • support that includes counselling, psychology and advocacy, to help you in the days and months after the assault.

If you have been sexually assaulted, you can report it to the police by calling 101.  If you want to report it anonymously, you can report it through Crimestoppers

  • The Havens (London-only) - a network of specialist sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) across London. It’s open 24/7 for victims of sexual assault. If you need urgent support call 020 3299 6900. If you need non-urgent information, call 020 3299 1599

  • The Survivors Trust- information and self-help support for survivors of rape and sexual abuse

  • Rape Crisis- a national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year) They also offer support online


You might need help and support if you’re part of a gang that’s involved in criminal activity. 

If you’re involved with a gang and you feel pressured into doing things you don’t want to do, there are people you can talk to. If you’re ever worried about sex, or you’re worried about your contact with a gang, you don’t have to deal with it alone.

  • Gangsline - a non-profit organisation established in 2007 to provide help and support to young men and women involved in gang culture. 0800 032 9538 - Freephone helpline

  • Childline- confidential service for people up to the age of 19. You can contact a Childline counsellor about anything

Female genital cutting (FGC) or female genital mutilation (FGM)

Female genital cutting (FGC) is when a girl's genitals are altered or removed for non-medical reasons. You might hear it called female genital mutilation (FGM), female circumcision or cutting. It can cause long-lasting physical damage and ongoing emotional distress. 

Over 200 million girls and women across the world have been affected by FGC. It's illegal in the UK. 

If you are at risk of FGC or have been affected by FGC, or you’re worried about someone you know, these organisations give you support and advice. 

Because it’s so serious, if you contact our team, are under 18 and have experienced FGC we have to tell other organisations who can help you. 

  • Forward - contact Forward for one-to-one support. Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm. 0208 960 4000, extension 1, or 07834 168 141 or email support@forwarduk.org.uk

  • About FGM - information about FGM and details of specialist drop-in clinics around the UK where you can get support and advice

  • The Halo Project - a national service that supports victims of ‘honour’-based violence, forced marriage and FGC. In an emergency call: 08081 788 424 (freephone). When it’s not an emergency and you need to speak to someone for some advice then call 01642 683 045


Trafficking is when a person is moved from one place to another so that they can be abused or exploited. You might have been forced to travel or told lies about what would happen when you arrived. People can be trafficked and exploited in different forms, including being forced into sexual exploitation, labour, begging or crime.

If you’ve been trafficked or you’re worried about someone you know, these organisations can help you:

‘Honour’-based violence

‘Honour’-based violence and abuse can take many forms. It describes a range of violent acts where the motivation, reason or justification is to protect the honour of a family or a community. It’s mainly used for controlling women and girls. Or punishing them for their behaviour.

If you are worried about ‘honour’-based violence, you can reach out to these organisations:

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline - free 24-hour helpline for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf: 0808 2000 247.

  • Karma Nirvana- free helpline for support with 'honour'-based abuse: 0800 5999 247, open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

  • The Halo Project- A national service that supports victims of honour-based violence, forced marriage and FGM. In an emergency call: 08081 788 424 (freephone). When it’s not an emergency and you need to speak to someone for some advice then call 01642 683 045.

Forced marriage

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry and if you want to marry at all.

A forced marriage is when one or both people do not, or cannot, choose to be part of the marriage. They have been forced or pressured into it. This can involve physical, emotional or financial abuse. 

If you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or need help to leave one, contact these organisations.

  • https://www.gov.uk/stop-forced-marriage - helpline providing advice and support to victims of forced marriage as well as to professionals dealing with cases. 020 7008 0151 or email: fmu@fco.gov.uk

  • The Halo Project - a national service that supports victims of 'honour'-based violence, forced marriage and FGM. In an emergency call: 08081 788 424 (freephone). When it’s not an emergency and you need to speak to someone for some advice then call: 01642 683 045.

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 05 December 2023