This guide will help you know what domestic and online violence and abuse is and what support is available to you, or a person you know who is experiencing it. This includes what to do in an emergency.
There is a lot of helpful guidance below, but the most important message is that nobody should be the victim of this behaviour from another. We urge you to get the help you deserve, we are here for you, you are not alone and you will be supported.
What is domestic and online violence and abuse:
Domestic violence and abuse typically takes place within relationships or families where one person bullies or controls another. It can affect people across society regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography. Across the world there has been an increase in reported cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
This abuse may take many forms including physical and sexual violence (harassment, assault and rape), verbal abuse and emotional abuse such as being prevented from speaking with friends and financial control factors such as not having sufficient control over money.
It can also involve control, coercion, threats and stalking which can be carried out through email, phone calls, text and online messages. This includes cyberbullying, cyberstalking and image-based abuse such as ‘revenge pornography.’
The COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing situation has worsened situations for some people who may be experiencing this abuse and we want to let you know that we are here to help you, or a student you know who is experiencing this abuse. This help covers a range of support for both the physical and mental impact on the person being abused. The following details the range of support available, from immediate, through to University, local and UK services.
Urgent support if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or has been harmed:
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm, please do not hesitate to dial 999 in the UK or your local emergency number if outside of the UK. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999, listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can. Then follow the instructions depending on whether you are calling from a mobile or a landline. See further guidance here.
*Accessing emergency services is vital if you’re in danger or have been harmed, please don’t worry about COVID-19, they will ensure they support you and keep you as safe as possible, they are committed to helping you.
If you are experiencing suicidal feelings or thoughts, or are thinking of ending your life, please take a moment to pause. There is always a way out of whatever you are experiencing and there are people ready and waiting to help you. Reach out to these free and confidential services:
- Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, 24-hour freephone in the UK – +44808 2000 247
- Call the Samaritans, listening and support service, 24-hour freephone in the UK - 116 123
- Call the Hopeline, practical advice and support for under 35s - on +44800 068 4141 (see link for times)
- Download these supportive apps:
- Stay Alive – Useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. It’s to support those at risk and those concerned for others
- Bright Sky - Useful information and tools to help those who may be experiencing abuse and those concerned for others
Key things to know regarding the COVID-19 measures:
- You can leave the home - this is classed as essential travel and you should not be fined by the police.
- You are encouraged to report - Nobody should be subject to violence or abuse in their relationships and Police are encouraging reporting to help support those in this situation. Information on how to report is available on the government’s website. This page includes detailing organisations who can give you advice about reporting. You can also report to the University either directly to one of the support services, via the Report and Support tool or to your department, please see the ‘University of Bath support’ information below for further details.
- Free travel is available – Anyone travelling to refuge accommodation can apply for free train travel. Tickets can be accessed through Women’s Aid’s (which lists various services across the UK) and Imkaan (addressing violence against Black and minoritized women and girls).
- Accommodation is available - The University can provide you with emergency accommodation (see below). Alternatively if you contact any of the key UK services (listed on this page), they will help get you to refuge accommodation, including helping you access food and support you may need.
- There is lots of support available on and off campus – The key support is detailed below. Whilst you may not feel that you want this help today, you may want to know that it’s there if you do want to speak to someone. Your safety and wellbeing are important to them and they’ll find the best way they can support you to help improve your situation.
- If you are the one hurting another person, there is help and support for you also – The support pages below detail support if you feel that you may be hurting another person. The key service for you is the Respect Phoneline.
University of Bath support:
The University is here to help you however it can, support and advice can be provided both on and off campus and whatever you say will be confidential between you and the service you speak with (unless there is a concern for your safety).
- Student Services – They can help you with your wellbeing, mental health and financial needs and can coordinate support with the services below for you and locally where possible – +441225 383 838 / email@example.com
- The Hardship Fund provides financial support to students in need e.g. you may need to leave the property you’re currently living in and need funds to pay rent on another property, continue to pay the rent in the property you’ve left and need travel and food funds etc. The Money Advice team will help you with filling out the form and can help identify other financial support available to you - +441225 383 838 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- They also provide specialist support to students who are disabled, care leavers, estranged, carers, refugees, assylum seekers and parents.
- Accommodation – A safe place to stay can be provided to you if you need to seek refuge, or simply want some time away from the person who is abusing you or the situation you’re in. We recommend going through Student Services to seek this support, however if you prefer you can contact them directly – +441225 383 111 / email@example.com
- SU Advice and Support Centre – We are independent of the University and can provide you with advice and support on a wide variety of needs. We specialise in academic, housing and personal support and can help identify other services that will be helpful to you, including helping you to access them (e.g. arranging appointments for you) - +441225 386 906 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Security– They are here 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and will support you however they can. If you’re calling from campus or the local area, they may be able to meet you and provide you with transport and shelter from the person or situation you need to leave - +441225 383 999 (emergency) or +441225 385 349 (non-emergency) / email@example.com
- Nightline – They are a student run confidential listening and support service. They’re currently operating via email only and will respond to you within 24 hours – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Report and Support tool is a way of confidentially telling us about your situation without having to contact a service. You can select who receives your form, the Wellbeing team and SU Advice and Support Centre team (or just one) and the service/s will then contact you and see how they can support you. If you select both services, they will provide coordinated support to you. This is also a good option if you prefer not to or can’t use a phone, as it’s a quick online form.
Your department may also be able to provide some support and will also do this confidentially. It may be useful to have them know about your situation so they can make arrangements for you e.g. provide an extension to assessments, have your personal tutor increase their contact with you etc.
Most importantly, the University staff across all of the above are here to do anything they can to ensure you’re safe and your needs are met.
Off campus support:
There is a huge amount of support available for those affected by domestic and online violence and abuse. This include details on what to do in an emergency and key services for women, men, children, LGBT+, disabled, BAME, religious and services that provide help in different languages. Please see this Government page for further details.
This Domestic abuse: how to get help page sets out how to recognise domestic abuse, report it, seek help, help a friend if they are being abused, get help from police and further support materials.
If you’re living in or around Bath, this page details the local services that can help you. The services below are all UK based, we recommend in addition to these (or if you’re outside of the UK), you search online for your local services. However the majority of them can provide remote support via email and video calls, so please do seek their support if you're outisde of the UK.
Key UK Services:
Women’s Aid - Offer guidance and services to women and children including:
Men’s Advice Line - Offer guidance and services for male victims: +44808 801 0327 / email@example.com
LGBT+ Galop - Offer guidance and services for LGBT+ victims - +44800 999 5428 / firstname.lastname@example.org
SafeLives – Provide these two useful guides:
Threshold DAS has a questionnaire which has prompts for people who feel like they might be either experiencing and those concerned about their use of violence and abuse.
Online harassment services are detailed in this guidance.
Respect Phoneline – Offer guidance and services if you think you may be hurting another - +44808 8024040 / email@example.com