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Abuse and violence

Abuse and violence

Domestic and sexual, abuse and violence is not acceptable. If you or someone you know is a victim, report it and get help.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Even during lockdown, if you are in danger in your home, please leave and seek help. Call 999 in an emergency.

If you need urgent police help through the 999 service but cannot speak

Call 999, you will be connected to a phone operator who will ask which service you need.

On a mobile:

  • if you can’t speak but the operator hears something suspicious, they’ll connect you to a police call handler
  • if you can make some noise, whispering for example, the operator will connect you to the police
  • if you can’t speak, and the operator can ’t tell what service you need, they’ll transfer you to the Silent Solution system. This runs a 20 second automated message, and that will ask you to press 55, to be put through to the police

On a landline phone:

  • if you cannot speak and the operator can hear only background noise, they’ll connect your call to the police

Details about support for victims of domestic violence on GOV.UK

Safe Lives guide to staying safe during COVID-19 for victims and survivors of domestic abuse

Women's Aid safety and support resources for survivors, friends, family, neighbours and community members during COVID-19 in multiple languages and BSL

Councillor Godwin explains how you can seek help

Abuse and violence can be psychological, physical, financial or emotional. It can include:

  • domestic abuse
  • domestic violence
  • control, for example, not being allowed to go where you want, when you want
  • coercion, for example, being forced to do things you don’t want to do
  • female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • forced marriage
  • human trafficking and modern slavery
  • sex work or prostitution
  • sexual violence
  • sexual harassment

It can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, race, background, disability, sexuality or type of relationship.

Report it

Violence or abuse is a crime and should be reported to the police. You can:

  • call 999 if a crime is happening now or you’re in immediate danger
  • call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
  • fill in the online crime form (avonandsomerset.police.uk)

Get support

The Bristol Against Violence and Abuse website lists organisations that can give support and advice, by the type of violence or abuse.

These organisations, supported by us, can also give help and support:

Support for women and girls

Next Link provide support services, and can help arrange emergency accommodation, for women and girls who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse:

Telephone help lines and live chat services are available 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

National Domestic Violence Helpline helps women experiencing domestic abuse. 

You’ll be able to talk confidentially to someone about your situation and find out what your options are.

Call 0808 2000 247. The phone line is open 24 hours day and 7 days a week.

Women’s Aid has published the Survivor’s Handbook which has practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse.

Support for men and boys

With Victim Support, we offer support for all men who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. This includes anyone who identifies as male, who is heterosexual, gay, bisexual or transgender or who is fleeing ‘honour’ based violence and forced marriage:

You can also contact:

They can give you advice and find you a place in a safe house if it’s needed.

Support for children and young people

If you or someone else in your family is being hurt at home, you can tell a teacher, a neighbour, a friend, a friend's parent or the police. Domestic abuse isn’t your fault.

You can call Childline on 0800 1111 for free. They won't tell anyone else you’re calling unless you’re in immediate danger. They can tell you where you can get help.

The Hide Out website also helps children and young people experiencing domestic abuse and violence. 

You can also contact  First Response team on 0117 903 6444.

If you’re in a same-sex relationship

If you’re in a same-sex relationship, you can also contact Gallop, the national LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline.

Call: 0800 999 5428 or email help@galop.org.uk

If you're a victim of honour based violence or forced marriage

Honour based violence is domestic abuse usually committed by men towards women. Women are punished for bringing ‘shame’ on the family by not following rules that have been set, usually by the men of the family.

Honour based violence may be committed because a woman:

  • has a boyfriend or a same-sex partner
  • has rejected a forced marriage
  • is pregnant outside of marriage
  • has a relationship with someone from another faith
  • asks for a divorce
  • dresses in a way her partner or husband considers inappropriate

There are organisations that can help you if you’re experiencing honour based violence:

Support for victims of sexual abuse and violence

SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support) is a support service for people who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their life.

Helplines: 0808 801 0456 or 0808 801 0464

Monday: 11am to 2pm
Tuesday: 12pm to 2pm, and 6pm to 8pm
Wednesday: 12pm to 2pm, and 6pm to 8pm
Thursday: 12pm to 2pm, and 6pm to 8pm
Friday: 11am to 2pm

These lines are open to all.

Emotional telephone support

If you want someone to listen and give you emotional support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 free from any phone.

Council tenants

If you’re a council tenant we can:

  • repair damage caused by domestic violence
  • give advice and help with the security of your home, such as changing the locks
  • give housing, benefits and money advice
  • give details of support organisations and help you contact them

Contact the Estate Management Service:

Housing benefit
If you move to temporary housing because of domestic violence, you might be able to claim housing benefit for both properties. You can apply for housing benefit online.