What can I do?

If abuse is at happening at home, you probably want it to stop but you might not be sure what you can do. The first thing is to tell someone what is going on. You might be able to talk to the person who is being hurt. If not, you could try talking to a teacher, a neighbour, a friend or a friend’s parent, etc.

You can also call one of the helplines – they will be able to tell you where you can get help near where you live.


Remember, domestic abuse is not your fault. You won’t get into trouble for telling someone.


If people are fighting, should I stop them?

If there’s violence in your home, it’s important that you stay safe when there’s a fight. Sometimes you might feel like you have to stop the fight and protect the parent who’s being hurt. This can be very dangerous and puts you at risk of getting hurt yourself.


If you are scared when there is a fight, you can always call 999 and ask for the police – they will come to your house at any time of the day.


It’s helpful if you can tell a friend or grown-up you trust about the abuse at home. This way, if there’s an emergency you can phone them and they’ll know about what’s going on in your home.


Who will help me and my family?

In an emergency, for example if there is a fight, you can always call 999 and ask for the police.


At any time, the person who’s being abused can get help from support services in their local area. They can help you and the person who’s being hurt to stay safe. Call the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247(run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) to find out what services there are near to where you live.


Some areas also have education programmes for abusive people who want to change their behaviour and stop being abusive.


If your mum is being abused and it is too dangerous to stay at home, you and your brothers and sisters can go with her to a refuge. A refuge is a safe house where you can go to escape abuse at home. Refuges are normally for women and their children. You will stay in the refuge until things can be sorted for you and your family to go back home safely or find a new home. Explore our virtual refuge so you can see what it’s like.

How do I find a refuge?

You or the person who’s being abused can ring:


Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helplineon 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) to get more information and to find a refuge.


The addresses of refuges are kept secret so that the women and children living there can be safe.


Why don’t they just leave?

There are many reasons why someone might stay in an abusive relationship. It’s possible that:


  • They don’t know where else to go.
  • They may still love their partner.
  • They hope their partner will change and the violence will stop.
  • They don’t want to take their children away from the other parent.
  • They don’t have the money to leave.
  • They don’t feel strong enough to leave.


Just like you might feel mixed-up about what’s happening, the person being abused might also feel confused about what to do. If you have questions about what’s going on, don’t be afraid to ask.


Life at home is so horrible, would it be better if I just ran away?

If you feel like running away, things must be hard for you right now. Call a helpline like Childline on 0800 1111 or try to talk to someone you trust. Maybe you could arrange to go to their place for a bit or somewhere else you know is safe. Running away can be dangerous because it can be difficult to find somewhere safe to stay when you’re away from home. It’s important to try and get help whilst you’re still at home.


If you have run away or been forced to leave home and need help you can go to the police or social services. You won’t be in trouble, but they will want to make sure you’re safe. Make sure you explain why you left and that it’s not safe for you to be home. There are people who will listen to you and can help you get a safe place.


If you are thinking about running away, or have already run away, call the confidential Runaway Helpline 24 hours a day on Freefone 0808 800 70 70 email [email protected]