"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Advice & Helpine
Our Advice and Help Line offers a wealth of support for those who require quick and accessible guidance over the phone.
Our helplines receive thousands of calls each week and are well equipped to listen and support you regarding matters of Domestic Abuse, Forced Marriage and/or Human Trafficking.
We at Breaking the Silence, do not believe in ‘silly questions' and you should never feel embarrassed to ask for support. You are brave and we are here.
Call us today!
5 days a week
9am - 5pm
0121 285 2277
What is domestic abuse?
We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases, it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:
Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
Psychological and/or emotional abuse
Physical or sexual abuse
Financial or economic abuse
Harassment and stalking
Online or digital abuse
Spotting the signs
Is your partner jealous and possessive?
Are they charming one minute and abusive the next?
Do they tell you what to wear, where to go, who to see?
Do they constantly put you down?
Do they play mind games and make you doubt your judgment?
Do they control your money, or make sure you are dependent on him for everyday things?
Do they pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?
Are you starting to walk on eggshells to avoid making them angry?
Do they control your access to medicine, devices or care that you need?
Do they monitor or track your movements or messages?
Do they use anger and intimidation to frighten and control you?
Supporting a survivor
It can be hard to know how to support a friend or loved one who is experiencing domestic abuse. Our first instinct may be to protect her, but intervening directly can be dangerous for you and her. However, there are ways you can support her.
If you have spotted any of the signs of domestic abuse, reaching out to your friend is the first step. Leaving a violent partner is a process, not a single act. It takes, on average, seven attempts before a woman is able to leave for good.
Remember: if you see or hear an assault, or you are worried your friend might be in an emergency situation, you can call the police on 999.
What can I do?
Create a safe space
Make sure you speak in private. Make it clear you won’t judge. Only then will they feel safe enough to open up.
Tell them you’re worried
Try “You haven’t seemed yourself lately. Is there anything you want to talk about? Is everything OK at home?”
Take what they say seriously. Listen. Believe
They are often dismissed. They may be told the abuser is a nice person. Trust what they say.
Tell them it’s not their fault
Your friend might blame themselves. Tell them nothing they could do justifies abuse. the abuser alone is responsible.
Don’t ask why they haven’t left or judge their choices. Instead, build their confidence and focus on their strengths.
Remind them they are not alone
They may have been deliberately isolated. Say you are there for them, and that there are solutions.
Encourage them to contact us
Reassure them about what it's like to call us. Help them find out about their rights and options.
Give them time
It might take several tries before they confide in you. Be patient. Recognising the problem is the first step.