How to look after yourself in an abusive relationship

For people in abusive relationships, home is not a safe space.

It may also be hard to escape to places where you feel safer, more supported and better able to seek help.

Two women talking

Ways to help yourself

Try to stick to a daily routine that supports your mental and physical health. Going outdoors for a walk, running, or shopping will give you a break from the other person and could be a chance to seek help.

If your internet browsing history is not being monitored, it might be helpful to join online discussion forums. Women’s Aid has a Survivors’ Forum for women affected by domestic abuse. Or you could join a group on completely different topics, for example, music, local action to help people affected by the coronavirus, or other interests you may have.

Women’s Aid has more advice and resources for anyone living with an abusive person.

Get help and support

If you are in immediate danger, call the police or an ambulance on 999. If you cannot talk on the phone, call 999 and press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force, who will assist you without you having to speak.

Stay connected to those you trust

If possible, use technology such as phone, email or messaging apps to stay in daily (or more frequent) touch with people who know about your situation. This will help you stay connected, show the abuser that other people know how you are (if it’s safe to let them know you’re in touch with people), and may alert others if they don't hear from you.

Find a safe space in your local pharmacy

Some local pharmacies provide Safe Spaces – consultation rooms you can use to safely speak to friends and family or find details of specialist domestic abuse support.

Other pharmacies may have an ‘Ask for ANI’ poster on display. If you ask a staff member for ANI, they will take you to a private consultation room where you can access help.

Get information and advice

Call a helpline if it’s safe to do so

Many of these services also offer help by email and webchat if it’s safer or easier for you to use those.

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