How to Handle & Deal with Domestic Violence

This post is a part of our guide series to support anyone who may be experiencing domestic violence or has questions on what they should do:

What is Domestic Violence?
Who Commits Domestic Violence and Why?
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Domestic Violence?
How to Handle & Deal with Domestic Violence
How to Escape (or Help Someone Else Escape) Domestic Violence
How to Heal and Recover from Domestic Violence
What Impacts Does Domestic Violence Have on Victims and Their Family/Friends?
How to report Domestic Violence (and Who to Report it to)
How is Domestic Violence Proven in Court?
Punishment and Sentencing for Violent Domestic Abuse
How can Domestic Violence be Prevented?
What Effects Does Domestic Violence Have on Wider Society?
Domestic Violence Data & Statistics
Domestic Violence Helplines, Support & Further Reading

Being in violent abusive situations is scary for victims & shouldn’t be tolerated. Unfortunately we live in a world where strangers and even family members can turn violent.

It is important to know how to handle a potentially dangerous situation if this happens. For those currently trapped in abuse, this guide will help with day-to-day safety.

If you are in immediate physical danger

It will be very difficult or impossible to think clearly when you are in a situation where the abuse is being carried out. If the abuser detects any sign of you seeking help, it could make the situation worse.

Look out for the closest exit, if you cannot escape safely try a room in the house with a lock on the door. A few moments of this space could be enough to make a call to the police on 999.

If you cannot talk dial 555 from your mobile and you will be given instructions on how to respond in other ways.

What is safety plan?

Leaving an abusive relationship may seem terrifying but you need to keep reminding yourself of your right to this freedom. A right to start a new life, leading away from the abusive relationship and into safety.

You may feel unsure of what to do, but know there are people who will be committed to helping and supporting you.

You may find the following points helpful:

  • Wait until the abuser is out or away when getting things in place ready for you to leave
  • Do your research on places to live and what financial options are open to you
  • Use the ‘incognito’ mode when using google, this allows you to search anonymously, the abuser will not be able to trace your search history
  • Speak to a trusted neighbour, friend or family member
  • Keep an extra set of keys in a safe place
  • Ask a trusted person to hold your important documents, i.e. Passport, birth certificate, driving licence etc.
  • Set some money aside
  • Keep your car fuelled and ready
  • Prepare a bag with essential items when you leave, ask a trusted person to hold on to this
  • Keep proof of the abuse, this will really help after you have left.

What should a victim try to do if they suspect a violent episode may be coming?

If you are ever put in this unfortunate position where there is a risk of someone becoming violent, try to look out for the warning signs so you are able to diffuse their anger. If you are unable to do this then consider leaving as soon as it is safe to do so.

What should a victim try to do during a physically violent altercation?

Do not attempt fight with this person or do anything that will put your safety at risk. As difficult as it may be, stay calm knowing that you will be in a better position to plan a safe escape after the abuser has calmed down.

Do not let the abuser know of your intentions to leave, this can easily be done in an argument. Not only can this lead to a potentially dangerous situation, but the abuser may try to use their manipulation tactics to begin to regain control over you.

Remember focus on a safe time to escape, this doesn’t have to be right away. However in an emergency always call the police on 999. 

How should a victim try and handle the emotional and verbal abuse that comes with domestic violence?

Emotional abuse can be subtle and therefore not as easy to recognise. Acknowledging that abuse has taken place is the first step to regaining control of your life. You now need to give importance to your safety and well-being.

Speak to someone and begin to create a system of support, you should not have to deal with this on your own. Be kind to yourself and start to do things which make you happy. Self-love will help you to establish the boundaries in how you deserve to be treat, be assertive in not allowing anyone to fall short of these expectations.

Remember any sort of abuse cannot be justified, know that the person verbally abusing you does not have the authority to decide how you see yourself.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel valued and loved, this will help strengthen your self- esteem. Don’t engage in a conflict or react to the abuser. Focus on yourself and your feelings, by prioritising your own happiness and well-being.

What should you do if you are in a domestically abusive relationship?

If you’re in an domestically abusive relationship, you have a right to move forward and get away from the abuse.

There are many organisations that can help by talking through your options. As difficult as it may be, try to keep as much evidence as you can of the abuse, this will really help depending on which route you decide to take.

To get help and advice about domestic violence, you can contact the following organisations;

Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge

0808 200 0247

Men’s Advice Line

0808 801 0327

Rape Crisis (England and Wales)

0808 802 9999


116 123 (freephone)
Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK
PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA

Victim Support

0808 168 9111
Provides emotional and practical support for people affected by crime and traumatic events.

Women’s Aid

A directory of domestic abuse support services across the UK. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are worried about friends or family, you can access the Women’s Aid live chat service 7 days a week, 10am to 6pm.

Emergency Services

If you or anyone you know are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you can’t speak and are calling on a mobile press 55 to have your call transferred to the police. Find out how to call the police when you can’t speak

We understand how difficult it is to see someone you know or love experiencing abuse, sometimes trying to help is not easy. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and the first step that you should take is to talk to someone. No one should have to deal with abuse alone.

Here at the Criminal Injuries Helpline, we help victims of violent crime and abuse recover compensation. You may want to help the victim gain some justice, get in touch with us today to see if the victim would qualify.

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