Domestic Abuse

Man sitting on bench

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic violence, as described by the charity Refuge, is any violence or abuse that is used by someone to control or obtain power over their partner. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, emotional and financial abuse. If you alter your behaviour because you are frightened of how your partner will react, you are being abused.

Remember: non-physical forms of abuse can be as destructive and as undermining as physical violence.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender.

Men experiencing domestic abuse

While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, abuse of men happens far more often than you might expect. If you’re a man in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life regardless of age, occupation, or sexual orientation. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male.

Getting legal protection

You can apply to the civil court for an injunction order, meaning that your abuser can no longer contact or come near you, depending on the terms of the injunction. There are also other ways you can legally protect yourself or your children, we recommend you get advice on what is most appropriate for your circumstances.

Legal aid is available for cases involving domestic abuse. Read the latest guidance about legal aid on the website and check to see if you qualify here.

There is also assistance available from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Help and support

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline at any time day or night to discuss your concerns. You can also contact the Men’s Advice Line Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

The advisers will offer confidential, non-judgmental information and expert support. The teams will provide a listening ear if you want to talk about your experiences and support you to work through your options in the short and long term. They aim to work with you to keep you safe and give you information so you can make informed choices.

The helplines can also help you to access refuge accommodation, or other specialist domestic violence services if you need them. They can also direct you to other specialist services, depending on your individual needs.

You can also contact the Helpline via email on

And Men’s Advice Line on

Refuge’s website and the Men’s Advice Line website also provides lots of useful information. They support both men and women experiencing domestic abuse. You can also contact both organisations for support if you are concerned about a loved one and would like information or advice.

Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 (Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm)