Get help and support

You are not alone. Help is available.

We provide research, training and support to professionals. We aren’t a domestic abuse service providing support and help to people experiencing abuse.

But if you’re experiencing domestic abuse, or you’re worried about someone you care about, help is available – you’ll find details of support and advice below.

If you need emergency help now

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. 

Silent calls will work if it isn’t safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system by calling 999 and press 55 when prompted.

You can also ‘Ask for ANI’ (pronounced ‘Annie’) in pharmacies displaying the logo. They will offer you a safe space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse services.

If you’re not in immediate danger

Remember, you know your own situation best so only take on advice that feels safe and relevant to you. It’s important to think about things that may change or make you more unsafe. And to think about how you might get help if you need it in an emergency situation.

You may have a professional such as an Idva, Idaa or social worker that can help or another person you trust. You can also access help and support from the helplines below.

Safety planning

Do you have a personalised safety plan – and if so, is it up to date?

If you need to make updates to your safety plan, could an Idva/Idaa or specialist domestic abuse worker help you do this? Or are there other professionals you trust and can talk to?

Remember, it is ok to tell your specialist worker that the person harming you is living in the property, they won’t judge you and can better help you to think about your safety.

Speak to your employer

Do you have a supportive employer? Can you talk to them about what is happening?

Ask for ANI

Early in the pandemic our incredible group of Pioneer survivors put forward the idea of a code word to be used in the few shops allowed to open – supermarkets and pharmacies. With support from the DA Commissioner and Victim’s Commissioner, we proposed a scheme to the Home Office and were delighted to work with them in creating Ask for ANI.  

The Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) scheme is a codeword scheme that enables victims of domestic abuse to discreetly ask for immediate help in participating pharmacies and Jobcentres (Jobs and Benefits Offices in Northern Ireland). 

The scheme was launched by the Home Office, with the help of partners including the domestic abuse sector, pharmacy associations and the police, on 14 January 2021.  

Over 5,000 pharmacies, including Boots, Lloyds and community pharmacies, are now enrolled in the scheme. People from across the UK have been supported by pharmacists to access support from the police or domestic abuse services. The scheme is also currently being piloted in 18 Jobcentres and Jobs and Benefits Offices across the UK. 

More information on the scheme

Other steps you can take

  • Think about places of safety
    Have you talked to your Idva/Idaa through the layout of your house so you can think about any places of safety?
    If you had to leave in an emergency do you know where you would go?
  • Have a bag packed and ready
    If you can, leave this at a trusted friend/family/neighbour’s home. This should contain medical essentials, important documents including passports/driving license. Maybe the service you are in touch with could keep copies of these documents. Have a little bit of money hidden away in case you need this to leave.
  • Agree a codeword/sign to signal you’re in danger
    Set this up for family and friends to let them know by text/voice note/video call. The code will need to alert them to contact the police if you are in danger. Teach the code to children who are old enough to understand what you are asking of them and why.
  • Use a separate mobile
    Do you need a separate mobile which you can use just to call for help? The service you are in touch with may be able to supply this.
  • Find the best times for contact
    If there are times you know you can talk, share this with your specialist worker and agree how you will reach each other.

Domestic abuse helplines


Call 0808 2000 247 or visit the National Domestic Abuse Helpline website.

Northern Ireland

Call 0808 802 1414 or visit Women’s Aid Northern Ireland website.


Call 0800 027 1234 or visit Scottish Women’s Aid website


Call 0808 80 10 800 or visit Live Fear Free Helpline website.

Live chat

Women’s Aid (England) also provides a live chat service 7 days a week.
Close up of hands holding a phone

Apps to help you stay safe

The Brightsky app will help you find services.

And the Hollie Guard app turns your smartphone into a personal safety device.

Specialist help and support

Men's Advice Line

The helpline for male victims of domestic abuse. Call 0808 801 0327

Respect: for those using harm

Working to stop the harms done by those who perpetrate domestic abuse.

Surviving Economic Abuse

Help and support for anyone experiencing economic or financial abuse. Get support from the Financial Support Line or Survivor’s Forum.

Dyn Wales Helpline

Confidential support and help for men affected by domestic abuse in Wales. Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0808 801 0321

Galop - for LGBT+ victims and survivors

Call free on 0800 999 5428, email or use webchat.

Forced Marriage Unit

Call 020 7008 0151 for the public helpline for advice and support for victims of forced marriage and professionals supporting them.

Paladin - for victims of stalking

Call 020 3866 4107 for advice and support

Citizens Advice National Helpline

In England, call 0800 144 8848 or in Wales, call 0800 702 2020


To speak up about crime anonymously, call 0800 555 111

Support from family, friends and neighbours

Family, friends and neighbours can be another way to get the support you need.

  • Can you FaceTime or call someone you trust? Can you talk to them about what you’re experiencing and your concerns?
  • Do you have a code word/phrase to let someone know that it isn’t safe to talk or to ask them to phone the police?
  • Could you set up a check in call with someone you trust so that you know they’ll contact you at specific times of the week?


As well as getting support from others, think about how you can look after yourself. As much as possible, stick to usual routines. Maintaining basic self-care like eating, showering, sleeping and exercising can all help your mental health. And take whatever breaks you can — take a walk outside, read a magazine, get the kids involved in an online exercise class.


It can be very hard for victims to reach out for help from behind closed doors. That’s why we’re asking others – friends, family, neighbours and colleagues – to reach in.

Find out more

Think about when abuse happens

For example, is it worse when the kids are around or not? This might help you think about times when things might be calmer.

Also consider:

  • What are your main concerns and worries?
    These are the things you need to share with your specialist domestic abuse worker, trusted professional and, if you need to ring 999 for help, the police.
  • Is the person who is harming you out of work or working from home?
    Will this affect your family income and if so, how could this affect things?
  • Does the person harming you use drugs and/or alcohol?
    Has their use changed, and if so what could this mean?
  • Do you think there is software on your IT? Any listening devices or cameras in your home?
    How will this change the way you might get help?
  • Do you know what your options are if you want to leave? Or if you want to stay and want the person harming you to leave?
    Your Idva/Idaa or specialist domestic abuse worker can help you think this through

Support for parents and children

The person harming you may use child contact to further control and abuse you. If you have court orders in place which aren’t being followed please contact your solicitor or the police to enforce them.

You may also find these free resources for children on the Monkey Bob website helpful.

Support for children and young people

Is my relationship healthy?

This tool from The Mix is designed to help young people understand their relationship dynamic and know how to get help if they need it.

Access the tool