Domestic abuse

Reports of domestic abuse have increased nationally during the coronavirus lockdown.

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If you need help urgently, but are too scared or unable to make a noise or speak, you can:

  1. Dial 999
  2. Listen to the questions from the 999 operator
  3. Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can
  4. If prompted, press 55. This lets the 999 call operator know it's a genuine emergency

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse doesn't always involve physical violence. Your abuser could be a partner, ex-partner or a family member (including step families). Domestic abuse can include (but is not limited to) one or more of 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 - isolating you from family and friends, stopping you going out or to work
  • Physical and sexual violence 
  • Stalking or harassment
  • Financial abuse - not letting you have money, making you list everything you spend or taking out loans or credit cards in your name
  • Online or digital abuse - checking your social media accounts or your phone

It can also include:

  • 'honour' based violence (abuse for 'bringing shame' on the family or community)
  • forced marriage
  • female genital mutilation

Who does it happen to?

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of where they live, their sexuality, gender, social group, or whether or not they have a disability. We know that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.

Help and Support 

In an emergency always dial 999.

First of all you need to know that the abuse is not your fault regardless of what the other person says. They choose to be abusive and their behaviour is their responsibilty. The decision to do something against your abuser is a hard one, however, it is important to know that whether you decide to leave or stay, there is confidential help and support available and you are not alone. 

If it is not an emergency, the following phone numbers and websites will give you information about the support available to help you. 

  • As part of the Safe Spaces scheme, victims of domestic abuse are able to access safe spaces at Boots pharmacies, Superdrugs, Morrisons and TSB banks, where they can contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice. For more information and to locate your nearest safe space, visit Safe Spaces Locations
  • Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SWA) local 24 hour helpline: 01793 610610. This service supports male and female victims of domestic abuse and offers advice to family members.
  • Wiltshire Police: In an emergency always dial 999. The Wiltshire Police non-emergency number is 101. You can request information from the Police (under Clare's Law) about whether your partner has been abusive in other relationships, visit: Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare's Law)
  • National 24 hour domestic abuse helpline (operated by Women's Aid and Refuge): 0808 247 2000
  • The National Stalking helpline: 0808 802 0300 or visit the Suzy Lamplugh Trust website 
  • Childline (counselling service for children and young people): 0800 1111
  • For male victims of domestic violence visit Men's Advice Line (MALE) or call 0808 801 0327
  • For lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender victims of domestic violence: visit Galop or call 0800 999 5428
  • Swindon Borough Council Housing Options Team: 01793 445503

Support for victims of sexual violence:

The Gables, Swindon & Wilts Sexual Assault Referral Centre: this is the first point of contact for people who have experienced rape and serious sexual assault. It provides forensic medical examination, emergency contraception, crisis support and other services. For more information visit Firstlight or call 01793 781916.

The Phoenix Project Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA): Advisors provide support for victims who have been a victim of rape or sexual assault in Swindon. To speak to an advisor, call 01225 775276. To download a referral form please visit Splitz Support Service

Advice and support on honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation: 

  • The Honour Network (a national helpline for victims affected by forced marriage or honour-based violence): 0800 599 8247 (open every day from 9am-9pm)
  • Karma Nirvana (a British charity that supports victims affected by forced marriage or honour-based violence): 0800 5999 247 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
  • The Government Forced Marriage Unit provides free advice on stopping a forced marriage or on leaving a marriage you've been forced into: 020 7008 0151 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or you can contact their emergency, out of hours number on 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)
  • The NSPCC Female Genital Mutilation Helpline is a free, confidential and anonymous helpline for anyone, members of the public or professionals, who is concerned that a child's welfare is at risk because of FGM: 0800 028 3550 

Domestic Abuse can happen to anyone. Don’t suffer in silence.

This page was updated on 11/08/2022.