for better mental health

Guide to support options for abuse

Taking the first step in seeking help for abuse can feel difficult. You may especially feel this way if you have tried to talk to friends, family or professionals and have not had a response that helped you.

This page list organisations and services who may be able to offer you support for abuse. Help is available whether you’re experiencing abuse now, or have done in the past.

On this page, find details of services and support options for:

Some people find counselling helpful in coping with abuse. For further information on talking treatments, see our pages on counselling and therapies.

Our pages on trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-esteem might also be helpful.

Support options for any type of abuse

These organisations support people who are experiencing, or have experienced, any type of abuse. Find details of support options for:

Abuse support for adults

Samaritans

116 123 (freephone)
[email protected]
Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK
PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA
samaritans.org

Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).

Victim Support

0808 168 9111
victimsupport.org.uk
Provides emotional and practical support for people affected by crime and traumatic events.

Support for adult survivors of childhood abuse

Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse (HAVOCA)

havoca.org
Information and support for adults who have experienced any type of childhood abuse, run by survivors.

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)

0808 801 0331
[email protected]
napac.org.uk
Supports adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse. Offers a helpline, email support and local services.

Abuse support for children and young people

Childline 

0800 1111
childline.org.uk
Support for children and young people in the UK, including a free helpline and 1-2-1 online chats with counsellors.

Kidscape

0207 823 5430
kidscape.org.uk
Information and advice for parents, carers and young people with concerns about school bullying and abuse.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

0800 800 5000 (for adults concerned about a child)
0800 1111 (18 or under – Childline helpline)
nspcc.org.uk
Support and information for children and anyone worried about a child.

YoungMinds

0808 802 5544 (Parents Helpline)
85258 (Crisis Messenger for young people – text the letters YM)
youngminds.org.uk
Committed to improving the mental health of babies, children and young people, including support for parents and carers.

Abuse support for older people

Hourglass

0808 808 8141
078 6005 2906 (free text line)
wearehourglass.org
Offers a helpline, text line, information and advice for older people who have experienced abuse. Also supports those concerned about an older person, such as families, carers or practitioners.

Abuse support for people with a learning disability

Mencap

0808 808 1111 (Learning Disability Helpline)
mencap.org.uk
Information and advice for people with a learning disability, their families and carers. Services include an online community.

Respond

0207 383 0700
respond.org.uk
Services for people with a learning disability, autism or both, who have experienced abuse or trauma.

Domestic abuse and violence support options

These organisations support people who are experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse or violence. Find details of support options for:

Some organisations below choose to specify that their services are for men, or for women. This may change as they reflect on inclusivity, and does not always mean they cannot offer support.

If you identify as non-binary or transgender, we have also listed some dedicated LGBTIQ+ support services for domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse support for adults

The Dash Charity

0175 354 9865
thedashcharity.org.uk
Information, a helpline, advocacy services and legal support for adults who have experienced domestic abuse. Also runs refuge accommodation in Berkshire for women and children.

One in Four

0800 121 7114
oneinfour.org.uk
Offers advocacy services, counselling, and resources for adults who have experienced trauma, domestic or sexual abuse in childhood.

Safer Places

0330 102 5811
saferplaces.co.uk
Helpline, a live chat and information for adults who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse or violence. Offers refuge accommodation services in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Domestic abuse support for BAME people

Ashiana

0114 255 5740
ashianasheffield.org
Supports Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and refugee women in England who have experienced domestic abuse, forced marriage and honour-based violence. Also supports children and young people.

Roshini

0800 953 9666 (domestic abuse)
0800 953 9777 (forced marriage and honour-based abuse)
roshnibirmingham.org.uk
Supports people from BAME communities who have experienced domestic abuse, honour-based violence, forced marriage, rape or sexual assault. Offers two 24-hour multilingual helplines – national support for domestic abuse, and support in the West Midlands for forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

Southall Black Sisters

0208 571 9595
southallblacksisters.org.uk
Information, advice, advocacy, practical help, counselling and support to BAME women and children who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. Offers telephone services in multiple languages. Operates within the London Borough of Ealing.

Domestic abuse support for children and young people

The Hide Out

thehideout.org.uk
Information to help young people understand domestic abuse, and what to do if it's happening to them. Run by domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid.

Respect Not Fear

respectnotfear.co.uk
Information for young people about domestic violence and abusive relationships.

Support for forced marriage and honour-based violence

The Forced Marriage Unit

0207 008 0151
gov.uk/forced-marriage
Helpline to provide advice and support to actual or potential victims of forced marriage, as well as to professionals dealing with cases. Joint initiative between the Foreign Office and Home Office.

Halo Project

0164 268 3045
0808 178 8424 (freephone)
haloproject.org.uk
Provides advice and support to victims of forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation through a helpline and live chat. Can also advise concerned relatives or friends.

Karma Nirvana

0800 5999 247
karmanirvana.org.uk
Supports victims of forced marriage and honour-based abuse. Also offers a face-to-face advocacy service for people in West Yorkshire.

Domestic abuse support for LGBTIQ+ people

Bi Survivors

bisurvivorsnetwork.org
Support and advocacy network for bi+ people who have experienced domestic or sexual violence and abuse. Runs moderated chats every fortnight via a secure messaging app.

Galop

0207 704 2040 (LGBT+ hate crime helpline)
0800 999 5428 (National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline)
[email protected]
galop.org.uk
Provides helplines and other support for LGBTIQ+ adults and young people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse support for men

Men's Advice Line

0808 801 0327
mensadviceline.org.uk
Confidential advice and support for men who have experienced domestic violence and abuse by a current or ex-partner or family member.

Men’s Aid

0333 567 0556
mensaid.co.uk
Works to promote welfare for men who have experienced domestic abuse, as well as families and children.

Domestic abuse support for women

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

0808 2000 247
nationaldahelpline.org.uk
Free 24-hour helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse and violence, with all female advisors. Also offers a live chat and can help to find refuge accommodation. Run by the domestic violence charity Refuge.

Refuge

0808 2000 247
refuge.org.uk
Support, information and advocacy for women and children who have experienced domestic violence and abuse.

Surviving Economic Abuse

0132 363 5987 (Financial Support Line)
survivingeconomicabuse.org
Information and resources for women who have experienced economic abuse. Also a helpline offering advice to those experiencing domestic abuse in financial difficulty, run with Money Advice Plus.

Welsh Women's Aid

0808 80 10 800 (Live Fear Free Helpline)
welshwomensaid.org.uk
Information and support for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, including a directory of local services.

Woman’s Trust

0207 034 0303
womanstrust.org.uk
A specialist mental health charity for women who have experienced domestic abuse. Provides free face-to-face counselling, workshops, therapy and support groups in certain London boroughs.

Women's Aid (England)

Women's Aid Live Chat support
womensaid.org.uk
Information and support for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, including support by live chat, a directory of local services and a forum.

Sexual abuse support options

These organisations offer support for people who are experiencing, or have experienced, sexual abuse. Find details of support options for:

Some organisations below choose to specify that their services are for men, or for women. This may change as they reflect on inclusivity, and does not always mean they cannot offer support.

If you identify as non-binary or transgender, we have also listed some dedicated LGBTIQ+ support services for sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse support for adults

Lifecentre

0808 802 0808 (freephone)
07717 989 022 (textline)
lifecentre.uk.com
Support for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and anyone supporting them. Includes a helpline, text support and email counselling.

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)

0808 801 0331
[email protected]
napac.org.uk
Supports adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse. Offers a helpline, email support and local services.

One in Four

0800 121 7114
oneinfour.org.uk
Offers advocacy services, counselling, and resources for adults who have experienced trauma, domestic or sexual abuse in childhood.

Safeline

0808 800 5007 (Young people’s helpline)
0808 800 5005 (National Male Survivor helpline)
safeline.org.uk
Helplines for adults and young people who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. Offers face-to-face services in Coventry and Warwickshire and another helpline specifically for male survivors.

The Survivors Trust

0808 8010 818
thesurvivorstrust.org
Lists local specialist services for survivors of sexual violence, including advocates and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs).

Ugly Mugs

0161 629 9861
uglymugs.org
A membership service to support ending violence against sex workers, by taking reports of incidents and producing anonymised alerts. Also offers mental health support sessions.

Sexual abuse support for LGBTIQ+ people

Bi Survivors

bisurvivorsnetwork.org
Support and advocacy network for bi+ people who have experienced domestic or sexual violence and abuse. Runs moderated chats every fortnight via a secure messaging app.

Galop

0207 704 2040 (LGBT+ hate crime helpline)
0800 999 5428 (National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline)
[email protected]
galop.org.uk
Provides helplines and other support for LGBTIQ+ adults and young people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse.

Sexual abuse support for men

Mankind

mkcharity.org
Provides online counselling, therapeutic groups and couple counselling to men over 18 who have experienced sexual abuse at any time in their lives.

Survivors UK

020 3322 1860 (SMS)
074 9181 6064 (WhatsApp)
survivorsuk.org
Support for men who have experienced rape or sexual abuse, including text lines and an online chat service.

Support for non-abusive parents and carers of children

Acts Fast

0120 279 7217
actsfast.org.uk
Provides support to protective parents or carers of children who have experienced sexual abuse. Offers in-person services and support within Dorset.

Mosac

0800 980 1958
mosac.org.uk
Support, advice and information for non-abusing parents and carers whose children have experienced sexual abuse.

Support to prevent sexual abuse of children

Lucy Faithfull Foundation

lucyfaithfull.org.uk
Offers a range of services for individuals and families looking for help, advice, support and intervention with issues relating to child sexual abuse.

Stop It Now!

0808 1000 900
stopitnow.org.uk
Confidential freephone helpline for people who are struggling with sexual thoughts and behaviours towards children, or are concerned about someone else's behaviour.

Sexual abuse support for women

CIS'ters (Childhood Incest Survivors)

023 8033 8080
[email protected]
cisters.org.uk
Provides help and support for adult women who have experienced incestuous abuse in childhood.

Rape Crisis England & Wales

0808 802 9999
rapecrisis.org.uk
Support for women and girls affected by rape, sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence. Provides details of local centres.

Support options for abuse by health and social care workers

The organisations listed below may be able to help if you wish to report abuse by a health or social care worker. You can also find support if you have experienced abuse. The services listed in support options for any type of abuse may also help.

A health or social care worker could be a professional such as a:

  • counsellor
  • GP
  • health care assistant
  • nurse
  • occupational therapist
  • psychiatrist
  • psychologist
  • therapist.

All health and social care workers must follow certain standards of care. This includes keeping professional boundaries and treating people with dignity and respect.

Sometimes this doesn't happen, and people receive poor quality care. In some cases, it might be abuse such as:

  • discriminatory abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • financial or material abuse
  • neglect
  • physical abuse
  • psychological abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • verbal abuse.

If you have experienced abuse by a health or social care worker and wish to report it, your options include:

To complain about or report abuse, it might help to seek support from an advocate. Contact your local PALS office, Mind Infoline or see our pages on advocacy in mental health for more information.

Find support for abuse by a health or social care worker

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

bacp.co.uk
Professional body for talking therapy and counselling. Provides information and a list of accredited therapists.

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)

careinspectorate.wales
Independent regulator for social care in Wales, where you can make complaints about care providers and workers.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

cqc.org.uk
Regulates and inspects health and social care services in England.

Citizens Advice

0800 144 8848 (England Adviceline)
0800 702 2020 (Wales Adviceline)
0800 144 8884 (Relay UK, textphone)
citizensadvice.org.uk
Free, confidential information and advice on your rights, including money, housing, legal and other problems.

General Medical Council (GMC)

gmc-uk.org
Helps to protect patients and support doctors, and maintains a register of licensed doctors.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

hcpc-uk.co.uk
Regulates some types of health, psychology and social work professionals.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW)

hiw.org.uk
Independent regulator for healthcare in Wales, where you can make complaints and provide feedback.

HealthWatch England

healthwatch.co.uk
Helps represent people who use health and social care services in England.

Mind Infoline

0300 123 3393
[email protected]
Free and confidential information about support and services in your area, including advocacy support.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

nmc.org.uk
Regulates nurses and midwives in the UK.

Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS)

nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/what-is-pals-patient-advice-and-liaison-service
Offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. You can find services by searching on NHS UK or asking a doctor or healthcare professional for their details.

UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

psychotherapy.org.uk
Professional body for the education, training and accreditation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Provides online register of psychotherapists offering different talking treatments privately.

This information was published in March 2021. We will revise it in 2024.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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