Domestic violence and abuse

Young woman crying

Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone. Find out how to recognise the signs and where to get help. 

Domestic violence, also called domestic abuse, includes physical, emotional, economic and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members.   It call also include coercive control.

Domestic violence can happen against women and against men, and anybody can be an abuser.

If you're worried someone might see you have been on this page, find out how to cover your tracks online.  

You can find out more on Cambridgeshire Constabulary's Domestic Violence and Abuse page and also on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership.

If home isn’t safe, support is available

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can get help:  

Refuge (Peterborough, Fenland, Huntingdonshire): 07787 255821 (outreach)

Peterborough Womens Aid:  08454 103123

National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 

LGBT Helpline - Galop : 0800 999 5428 

In an emergency call 999 

For more information visit  

Getting help and support for domestic violence

You don't have to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it's important to tell someone and remember you're not alone. 

You can: 

  • talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife 

  • women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge website: 

  • men can call the Men's Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244 

  • in an emergency, call 999 

Outreach support is available to survivors across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and open to both male and female victims.  You can self-refer to Outreach support by telephone. 

Peterborough/Fenland/Hunts – Refuge 07787 255821 

Peterborough Womens Aid: 08454 103123  

The Survivor's Handbook from the charity Women's Aid is free, and provides information for women on a wide range of issues, such as housing, money, helping your children, and your legal rights. 

Men can also email, which can refer men to local places that can help, such as health services and voluntary organisations. 

For forced marriage and "honour" crimes, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151). 

Galop provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence. 

Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040. 

New countywide support for survivors of domestic abuse from 1 October 2022

Countywide mobile advocacy/outreach service offering a range of support to victims and survivors.

Cambridgeshire County Council has commissioned IMPAKT Housing and Support to provide a countywide mobile advocacy/outreach service offering a range of support to victims and survivors.

The new Domestic Abuse Support Service (DASS) will work in a trauma informed way to understand the needs and wishes of the individual and develop appropriate support and safety plans.

The Domestic Abuse Support Service  will offer support with issues around home security to help survivors remain safely in their own homes where appropriate, accessing benefits and signposting or referral to specialist services such as legal representation, mental health and substance misuse.

The Domestic Abuse Support Service will also be offering drop-in services in partnership with other specialist services across the county.

How to use the service

Survivors can self-refer to the confidential service by:


Phone: A freephone number will be available soon, in the meantime please use 01234 264109

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership have information on their website to support victims/survivors, friends and family and professionals 

View their website

Signs of domestic violence and abuse

There are different kinds of abuse, but it's always about having power and control over you.  

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship. 

Emotional abuse 

Does your partner ever:  

  • belittle you, or put you down? 

  • blame you for the abuse or arguments? 

  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down? 

  • isolate you from your family and friends? 

  • stop you going to college or work? 

  • make unreasonable demands for your attention? 

  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs? 

  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think? 

  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?  

Threats and intimidation 

Does your partner ever: 

  • threaten to hurt or kill you? 

  • destroy things that belong to you? 

  • stand over you, invade your personal space? 

  • threaten to kill themselves or the children? 

  • read your emails, texts or letters? 

  • harass or follow you? 

Physical abuse 

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways. 

Does your partner ever: 

  • slap, hit or punch you? 

  • push or shove you?  

  • bite or kick you? 

  • burn you?  

  • choke you or hold you down? 

  • throw things?  

Sexual abuse 

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they're male or female. 

Does your partner ever: 

  • touch you in a way you don't want to be touched? 

  • make unwanted sexual demands? 

  • hurt you during sex? 

  • pressure you to have unsafe sex - for example, not using a condom? 

  • pressure you to have sex? 

If your partner has sex with you when you don't want to, this is rape.  

Economic abuse

Does your partner:

  • restrict your access to money and resources -  such as accommodation, food, clothing and transportation?
  • stop you from working or insist on wages or benefits being paid into their own account?

Have you ever felt afraid of your partner? 

Have you ever changed your behaviour because you're afraid of what your partner might do? 

A third of domestic violence and abuse against women starts during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse. 

Find out more about domestic violence in pregnancy. 

If you decide to leave

The first step in escaping an abusive situation is realising that you're not alone and it's not your fault. 

Before you go, try to get advice from an organisation such as: 

Leaving a relationship can be a particularly risky time, so if you're considering leaving, be careful who you tell. It's important your partner doesn't know where you're going. 

Women's Aid has useful information about making a safety plan that applies to both women and men, including advice if you decide to leave. 

Helping a friend if they're being abused

If you're worried a friend is being abused, let them know you've noticed something is wrong. 

They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to. 

If someone confides in you that they're suffering domestic abuse: 

  • listen, and take care not to blame them 

  • acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse 

  • give them time to talk, but don't push them to talk if they don't want to 

  • acknowledge they're in a frightening and difficult situation 

  • tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said 

  • support them as a friend - encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions 

  • don't tell them to leave the relationship if they're not ready - that's their decision 

  • ask if they have suffered physical harm - if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP 

  • help them report the assault to the police if they choose to 

  • be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse. 

This leaflet 'Domestic Abuse - Opening closed doors: Supporting a friend or family member' produced by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership has some further useful information. 

Sexual assault

Women and men who have been sexually assaulted can get confidential help, treatment and support at a sexual assault referral centre. 

Read more about getting help after a sexual assault. 

Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership offer counselling and support via telephone and email, and ISVA Support.  For more information and to self-refer view the Cambridge & Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership website.

The Elms Sexual Assualt Referral Centre (SARC) based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital is the local centre.  This centre offers support to victims of sexual assault and they can also carry out forensic testing if the assault was recent. You can call them 24/7 on 0800 193 5434.

Find your nearest sexual assault referral centre 

Cambridge & Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership

Safe Spaces

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with Boots UK, Morrisons, Superdrug and Well pharmacies, TSB banks and independent pharmacies across the UK to provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse.

How to access a Safe Space

  • Walk into any participating pharmacy in the UK.
  • Ask at the healthcare counter to use their Safe Space.
  • A pharmacist will show you to the Safe Space. Which will be the consultancy room.
  • Once inside, you will find displayed specialist domestic abuse support information for you to access, to make that call or access Bright Sky safely

Find out more on the Safe Spaces Locations website.

External Links

  1. Cambridgeshire Constabulary Domestic Violence and Abuse page
  2. What should I do after sexual assault?
  3. Men's Advice Line
  4. National Centre for Domestic Violence
  5. Refuge: African and African Caribbean refuges
  6. Refuge: services for Asian women
  7. Scotland's domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline
  8. Women's Aid: The Survivor's Handbook
  9. - Women’s experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse


  1. If home isn’t safe, support is available
  2. Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Newsletter -November 2020

Related Services

  1. Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse and sexual Violence partnership
  2. UK Says No More - Safe Spaces campaign/Boots Pharmacies


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