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Abusive or violent relationships

Violence/abuse in relationships generally transpires within an intimate relationship and/or from within the family. Abuse can occur at any point in a relationship including after a break up. It is where one person tries to dominate and take control of the other individual. Violence/abuse can be experienced by any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class or culture. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial – all types of abuse can be destructive. Emotional abuse erodes feelings of self-worth and independence. No violence or abusive behaviour is acceptable. 

The Power and Control Wheel

This wheel indicates the types of abusive behaviours used to dominate another person

Image preview

Moving out of an abusive relationship

If you or someone you know is repeatedly experiencing one or more of the behaviours above, it is important to take notice and seek support.  

Things to consider and what you can do if you are in an abusive relationship  

  • Tell someone you feel you can trust – a friend, family member 
  • Reach out to a helpline and/or external support service provider such as a GP or other professional you trust 
  • Access some advocacy and/or counselling support to help you to process the situation, help build your confidence and self-esteem, discuss your options, rights and create safety plans, and gain some emotional and practical support surrounding any decisions you make or actions you wish to take 
  • If in an emergency situation, if you or someone you know has been harmed and/or injured, you or someone you know is at risk of harm or you feel unsafe- contact the police and/or an ambulance by calling 999 
  • You may also want to consider calling the following helplines to access further support.  
  • The freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 

Moving away from an abusive partner is a difficult step to take and you may feel you need some support in place to help you to plan this process and what you will do afterwards. If you are thinking and/or planning to leave an abusive and/or violent relationship please reach out for support and also take a look at this guidance- which can help you to think about what you may need to consider.

Helping a friend who may be a victim of abuse:

It can be upsetting to think that someone is hurting someone you care about and you may feel you need to protect that person by intervening in some way.  

We advise you consider the following to help support the person you are concerned about: 

  • Listen openly and patiently 
  • Be empathetic and sensitive 
  • Encourage them to journal- keep a log/diary of what has been happening- including dates/times/witnesses etc (this can be cathartic and can establish patterns which may be useful as evidence in any criminal investigations) 
  • You could offer to accompany to counselling/advocacy appointments so they don’t feel alone 
  • You could signpost them to external services for professional support 
  • You may like to look at this video campaign on supporting a friend: 

On campus support:

Sexual and Domestic Violence Adviser

We have a Sexual and Domestic Violence Adviser who can offer emotional and practical support to any member of the university who has been affected by these forms of abuse – for further information - 

Report and Support

You can report cases of abuse and violence to the University via our Report and Support Service- for further information 

Where to get further help: Supporting women and children who have experienced domestic abuse for Black Asian minority ethnic men, women and children an alternative for male victims LGBT for men who are going through domestic violence/abuse for survivors of honour-based violence and forced marriage for male perpetrators 

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