In the event of an emergency, always call the police immediately on 999.
If you're experiencing domestic abuse, you may feel afraid to ask for help because you've been threatened, or because you think no-one else will be listening to you.
But you don't have to face domestic violence on your own. There are specialist services in Essex, Southend and Thurrock, as well as nationwide organisations, that can support you and help you to stay safe.
For Female Victims
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, as well as for family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.
Refuge has a network of safe houses provides emergency accommodation for women and children when they are most in need.
Women's Aid is a national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children.
The Survivor's Handbook provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with simple guidance on every aspect of seeking support.
The Woman's Trust Counselling Service is open to all women who are, or have been affected by domestic abuse. Counselling sessions offer a time to explore feelings and talk through difficulties in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment. The service is for women only and is provided by female counsellors.
The Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse is a confidential and non judgemental support service for women and young people who have been raped, sexually abused or assaulted, either recently or in the past - whether it involved a stranger, friend or family member. You can speak to someone on 01206 769795, or leave a message on the 24 hour answerphone.
The number to call the South East Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Line is 01375 380609.
For Female Victims (Pregnancy)
Pregnancy is a time when domestic abuse can start and it can be a risky time, with potential danger to both mother and child. If abusive behaviour is already present in a relationship, then pregnancy can be a time when it gets worse. If you are pregnant and you are concerned about domestic abuse, talk in confidence to your midwife.
For Male Victims
Many of us think of domestic abuse as being something that only happens to women. But men can also be victims of abuse. Many men won't say anything when they are being abused but it's crucial you get help.
The Men's advice line is run by the charity Respect to support men who are victims of domestic violence. You can reach them on 0808 801 0327 (Mon, Tues and Weds 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm. There is an answerphone outside these hours).
DVMen is a website that provides advice and support for men suffering domestic violence.
The ManKind Initiative is a national charity that provides help and support for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence.
You can find more information on domestic abuse against men on the NHS Choices website.
For LGBTQI victims
Domestic abuse can be as common and as severe in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual relationships.
Galop offer emotional and practical support. They offer a National domestic abuse helpline, 0800 999 5428, or you can email them on email@example.com. Check the opening times on their website.
Domestic abuse is defined as taking place between adults, but this abuse also harms children. There is also evidence that it often occurs alongside child abuse within families.
If you're worried about violence or abuse against children or young people, contact your local children's services:
Emergency contact details
Where a situation is urgent and cannot wait until the next working day:
- Essex: 0345 606 1212
- Southend: 01702 215007
- Thurrock: 01375 652 802
For older people
You can use the specialist domestic abuse services. However, if you have a safeguarding concern which is not an emergency please contact your local adult social care teams:
- Essex: 0345 6037630
- Southend: 01702 215008
- Thurrock: 01375 652868
Other General Support
The National Centre for Domestic Violence provides a free and fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence, regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation.
The National Stalking Helpline provides guidance and information to anybody who is currently or has previously been affected by harassment or stalking.
Network for Surviving Stalking represents UK stalking victims and their families.
The This is Abuse website provides specialist advice on what to do if you find yourself in an abusive relationship with your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.
If you know someone who you think may be abusing their partner or family member, or if you're worried about your own behaviour, you can choose to stop, and there are agencies who can support you.
Anger management programmes are never appropriate for someone who is a domestic abuser. People perpetrate abuse in order to get what they want and to gain control.
Couple counselling is never safe for a couple in which one partner is abusing the other either, as it can be dangerous to force the victim to talk about the relationship in front of the abuser.
Respect is a registered charity and national membership organisation promoting best practice for domestic abuse perpetrator programmes and associated support services in the UK.
It provides a helpline for men who commit domestic abuse, and for people concerned for someone they know who they think is abusive. The number to ring is 0808 802 4040.
The Change Project is a community based domestic abuse intervention project which is run in association with women's and children's services. And you can reach them on 0845 372 7701 (calls to 0845 numbers are chargeable, rates vary) or 01245 258680 or call or text them using their mobile number, 07872 541982.
Other Information and Advice
The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) specialises in helping victims of domestic abuse to obtain non molestation orders and injunctions, to protect them from further abuse. The free service is available to everybody by calling 0800 970 2070 (24 hour, local call charge rate).
You can also text NCDV to 60777 and they'll call you back. And for the deaf and hard of hearing, they offer a minicom and typetalk service on 18001 08009 702070.