Domestic Abuse Helpline

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What you need to know

Did you know?

  • One in five women experiences domestic abuse.
  • 100,000 children in Scotland experience domestic abuse.
  • Nine out of ten children are in the same or next room during incidents of domestic abuse.

What is Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is when a person hurts, bullies or takes away the choices of someone they have a close relationship with. They might be dating, living together, married or have children together. It can involve someone a person used to be with.

In all relationships there can be difficult times. People can argue, disagree and say or do things that can be hurtful. What’s different about domestic abuse is that it causes one person to be scared of the other. Also, it doesn’t just happen once.

What does domestic abuse involve

Abusers can hurt others in many different ways:

  • Physically by hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, slapping.
  • Emotionally by threatening them, making them feel bad about themselves, stopping them from seeing friends and family.
  • Financially by not giving them any money, not letting them work or controlling all the money.
  • Sexually by forcing them to have sex or watch sexual behaviour and touching them against their will.

Why does domestic abuse happen

Mostly, women and children are the people who are hurt by domestic abuse and men are the people who abuse. But some men do experience domestic abuse as do people in same sex relationships. The reason that more women experience domestic abuse may be that until quite recently it used to be acceptable (and even legal) for men to hurt their wives if they did not obey them.

People choose to be abusive. Some abusers say they were drunk or had taken drugs. But, drinking or drugs do not cause domestic abuse although they can make it worse. Some people say they were feeling stressed at the time or that the other person was ‘asking for it’. This is not true. These are just excuses. No one makes someone else abusive. No one deserves to be abused. Any type of abuse is wrong. The person it is happening to is never to blame.

How does it affect children and young people?

People often think that domestic abuse doesn’t affect children and young people. Adults sometimes think that they can hide what’s going on. But children and young people often hear or see what’s happening. They might hear shouting and hitting, or see their mum upset or injured. Often they are nearby when it’s happening. Some children and young people are also hurt by the abuser.

If this is happening to you, you may feel scared, angry, upset, depressed, guilty or confused. Whatever you feel is OK. There are no right or wrong feelings.

Domestic abuse is not your fault. The person who abuses is responsible – not you or anyone else.

Staying safe when there’s a fight

If you are living with domestic abuse you probably just want it to stop.

Domestic abuse is not your fault.

Here are somethings you can do, or not do, to help you stay safe when domestic abuse is happening.

Firstly, don’t try and stop it

You might want to try to stop the fight to protect the person who’s being hurt. But trying to stop fights can be dangerous and you might get hurt.

Phone the police

Instead, you could phone the police by dialling 999. The operator will put you through to the police. The police will ask you for your name and address. They will also ask you what is happening and who else is in the house with you. If it’s safe, the police will ask you to stay on the phone until they arrive.

If it doesn’t feel safe to call the police from your home, you could call from a phone box, a neighbour’s or a friend’s house.

Find a safe place

There may be places in the house where you go to feel safe when there’s a fight. You should keep on doing this. It is good to stay away from the fight so that you don’t get hurt.

Tell someone

It can help to talk to a friend or adult you trust. If there’s a fight at home you can phone them and let them know what’s going on so they can help.

Some people make up a ‘codeword’, so that in an emergency they just have to say the codeword over the phone and the other person will know that this means you need help. Make sure that you’ve agreed what they should do when you call and that they know your address and phone number.

Changing Lives Videos

Click here to view David's story

Click on the image on the left, or the link below to watch a video about David, find out what it was like for him and his family once they arrived at the refuge, and how they moved on with their lives afterwards.

Click here to view David's story.

Click here to view Maria's story

Click on the image on the left, or the link below to watch a video about Maria. Find out how she turned things around with our help, and how women's aid have become a part of her and her daughters lives.

Click here to view Maria's story.

Click here to watch 'In a Refuge'

Click on the image on the left, or the link below to watch 'In a Refuge'. Different women talk about their refuge experiences, the friends they've made, and the impact it has had on their lives.

Click here to watch 'In a Refuge'.