How to Support Victims of Domestic Abuse (without calling the police)

[This guide was kindly translated into Chinese by our comrades at vaChina. Scroll down for the translation]

In April, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity Refuge reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day. Sex workers are especially vulnerable to family and intimate partner violence due to the criminalisation of our work and surrounding social stigma. Many domestic violence support services in the UK consider sex work to be inherently a form of exploitation. This can make it hard for us to get help accessing those services so we’re heavily reliant on our social and community networks to keep us safe and keep us connected. We’ve compiled some suggestions of how to support victims of domestic abuse without calling the police if you suspect abuse or violence is happening. Calling the police on sex workers without us asking for you to can be especially dangerous. There are other ways to help.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247

Mankind – 01823 334 244

The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327

The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123

Text from slides:

How to support victims of domestic abuse (without calling the police)

1. Do not call the police. Unless someone has asked you to call them or you believe their live to be in danger, don’t call the police. The cops are not trained to deal with domestic abuse and will sometimes arrest the wrong person or escalate the situation, making it worse for the victim.

2. Signpost. Let the person know about local or national services which can help them (we’ve included some numbers of the last slide). If you are worried about a neighbour or someone in your community, leave the information out where they may be able to see it.

3. Keep communication open. Keep talking and keep being there for this person, the contact is a lifeline. They know best how to keep themselves safe. They know their abuser better than anyone. They have survived this long. Your non-judgemental presence means everything.

4. Do not contact the abuser. It’s tempting to contact the abuser because you think that confronting them might help them stop. This is rarely the case. Unrequested contact means there is a higher chance that they will blame the victim for talking about it and punish them for it.

5. Don’t gossip. Wanting to tell other people what you know can come from a good place, but calling up friends or family members can add to the shame someone is experiencing from being in an abusive relationship. Don’t put them in a situation where they want to stop communicating with you.

6. Manage expectations. Be honest about what kind of help you can offer. Someone leaving domestic abuse may need money, a place to stay, or someone to help with childcare. Be careful to let them know what it is that you can offer. If all you are able to do is listen – which is amazing – then be clear about that.

7. Recognise the impact. People who experience domestic abuse often have their sense of self worth obliterated. If you’re trying to support someone living with abuse, complimenting them, reassuring them, being kind to them, and boosting their self-esteem are amazing ways of keeping them strong.

8. Keep yourself safe. Know your own boundaries and look after yourself. If it is becoming too difficult or too traumatic to support someone, do not be afraid to tell the person in a mindful manner and step away.












  1. National Domestic Abuse Helpline(全国家暴援助热线)- 0808 2000 247 官方网站
  2. Mankind (主要援助男性家暴受害者) – 01823 334 244 官方网站:
  3. The Men’s Advice Line (主要援助男性家暴受害者)– 0808 801 0327 官方网站:
  4. The Mix(为25岁以下人群提供免费的信息和支持)– 0808 808 4994 官方网站:
  5. National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline (全国LGBT+家暴援助热线)– 0800 999 5428 官方网站:
  6. Samaritans (24/7免费服务热线) – 116 123 官方网站:
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