It can be difficult to know how to help someone who has been subjected to domestic abuse, it can be a frightening and confusing time for them and for you. It is important that they are aware of the support available for students, from the University and external support services.

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of another student and would like to talk to someone, please email or use the Report and Support tool. It is important to ensure the person is aware of any details you are sharing about them, as in some instances actions taken could put someone at further risk from an abuser. You can also suggest that they contact specialist support services that feel the most comfortable for them, or if someone needs urgent assistance please contact the police by calling 999.  

You may wish to consider the following advice on how to offer support: 
  • It is important that the person feels that they are believed, so it is important that you listen and remain non-judgmental. Often the person can blame themselves, feelings of guilt and shame are not uncommon so it is important that they know what happened is not their fault. 
  • Try to be supportive without giving advice. It is important that the individual can determine how to proceed and feel that they can make the decisions. Accept it is the person's choice of what to do. It may be helpful to look at the options, and encourage independent decision making, even if you disagree. 
  • Don't ask why the abuse happened, this may lead to the person feeling they could have done something to prevent the abuse - which they couldn't, the perpetrator alone is responsible.
  • Look after yourself. It is important that you take care of yourself and seek support if needed. It is common to need support when supporting someone else.
  • Be patient. They may not want to talk right now and you may feel that you are not doing enough but just being there may be all they need at the moment. It is important that you don't force an individual to give you information. 
  • Making the decision to leave is the most dangerous time for someone fleeing abuse; it is important to encourage and empower the individual to get support from professional services.

Useful resources

National Domestic Violence Helpline – Supporting a Survivor 

National Women’s Aid – I’m worried about someone else 


There are two ways you can tell us what happened