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Help, advice and support for victims and survivors

There is a wide range of local, regional and national agencies who help and support victims and survivors of domestic abuse.


The Survivor's Handbook

The Survivor’s Handbook has been produced by Women's Aid. It provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with simple guidance on every aspect of seeking support.

The terms "victim" and "survivor" are both used, depending on the context. "Survivor" is, however, preferred as it emphasises an active, resourceful and creative response to the abuse, in contrast to "victim", which implies passive acceptance. If you are reading this, then you are - at least to some extent - a survivor.

The handbook is primarily addressed to women for the following reasons:

  • The majority of domestic abuse as defined by Women's Aid is perpetrated by men and experienced by women.

  • Women's Aid's information and support services exist to respond to the needs of women and children.

However, most of the information would also apply equally to men who are on the receiving end of abuse, whether from a male or a female abuser.

If you or a man you know is experiencing domestic abuse you can find more support for male survivors available.

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Local Help and Support for Domestic Abuse Victims and Survivors

There are many organisations who can help and support those experiencing domestic abuse. Some are specialist in domestic abuse and others provide wrap-around help and support such as advice about health, legal options, finances etc.

  • Wearside Women in Need (WWIN) Tel: 0800 066 5555 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). WWIN are domestic abuse specialists who provide refuge accommodation, 24/7 confidential help line, outreach and floating support; and the Independent Domestic Violence Advisors who provide support to the highest risk victims). WWIN support female and male victims.
  • Sunderland Counselling Services Tel: 0191 514 7007. Counselling services for male and female victims of childhood sexual violence or rape in adulthood.
  • Northumbria Police take domestic abuse very seriously. In an emergency always call the Police on 999 for immediate help. At other times ring 101 and ask for the crime desk. The police can take action against an abuser and give advice on home security and other matters.
  • Clare's Law: The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is designed to provide victims with information that may protect them form an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy. The scheme allows the police to disclose information about a partners' previous history of domestic abuse or violent acts. An application can be made by ringing 101, visiting a police station or on-line at Northumbria Police.
  • The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is a place where victims can receive help and advice and a forensic examination if they have been raped or seriously sexually assaulted. REACH (Rape examination, advice, counselling and help) is the name of the SARC that is operated in the Northumbria Police area. REACH is a free, confidential counselling, advice and support service which helps women and men aged 16 or over who have been raped or sexually assaulted. The centres are staffed by women who are experienced in dealing with the effects of rape and sexual assault. They will be happy to help victims whether or not they wish to report the assault to the police. It also has two forensic examination centres: the Rhona Cross Suite located in Newcastle and the Ellis Fraser Suite in Sunderland. Visits are by strict appointment only. Tel: 0191 221 9222.
  • Victims First Northumbria is an independent victim referral service. Tel: 0800 011 3116 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 8pm and Saturday 9am - 5pm) or email
  • The Halo Project. Tel: 01642 683 045 (honour based violence, forced marriage).
  • Angelou Centre (for BME women and children, women with no recourse to public funds). Outreach, advice and support. Tel: 0191 226 0394
  • Gentoo Victim Support for Gentoo customers.
  • Impact Family Services support women as part of a family court direction via CAFCASS and who offer supervised contact services for children affected by domestic abuse.
  • Community Counselling Cooperative Tel: 07549 698 050/49. Supporting male victims of domestic violence in Northumbria
  • Mental health (children): Children and Young People's Service (CYPS) (CYPS) treat domestic abuse as a "special circumstance" and automatically go to CYPS (rather than the CAMHS tier 2 service) irrespective of the severity of their mental health issue. Tel: 0191 566 5500
  • Mental health (adults): Sunderland Psychological Wellbeing Service (IAPT) Tel: 0191 566 5450 (main reception) or 0191 566 5454 (self-referral). There is also support available from Washington MindTel: 0191 417 8043 and Sunderland Mind Tel 0191 5657218 or 07961064117
  • Legal advice: There are a range of civil remedies available to victims of domestic abuse. Victims can choose to go down a family law route which remains private and confidential (especially if the victim does not want to report the abuse to the police). You can access contact details for specialist family lawyers locally, some of which provide free initial consultation to victims to help them explore their options.
  • West End Women and Girls offer specialist peer led support for victims of domestic abuse aged 11-21 using group work and one to one emotional support
  • Streetwise North offer direct support/advocacy and outreach work for young people who have been subject to exploitation, child sexual abuse and physical assault.
  • "Someone Cares" allows young people to have direct access to therapeutic support with minimum impact on their education. They provide counselling to young people whose lives have been affected by any crime .
  • The Children's Society are providing specialist emotional wellbeing support to young people aged 11-18 years who are vulnerable victims of crime and have experiences sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse.
  • Children North East provide specialist emotional wellbeing support young people aged 11 to 18 years old who are vulnerable and at risk or who have been victims of crime.

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External Links

  • Women’s Aid Tel: 0808 2000 247 - the national 24 hour domestic violence help line
  • MALE Tel: 0808 801 0327 (Monday - Friday 10am-5pm) Confidential help line to support male victims of domestic violence
  • Forced Marriage Helpline Tel: 0800 5999 247 (not 24 hours)
  • The Forced Marriage Unit Tel: 020 7008 0151
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) (FGM) is abuse and it is mandatory to report it. For further advice and guidance on FGM contact Police on101 or Children's Social Care on Tel: 0191 520 5552 (anytime)
  • GALOP Tel: 0300 999 5428. A service for LGBT people who are experiencing domestic violence
  • Rape Crisis A national body that provides co-ordination for the rape crisis movement in England and Wales - the website lists local centres.
  • Domestic Violence Injunctions Tel: 0800 970 2070 National Centre for Domestic Violence provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation. The service allows anyone to apply for an injunction within 24 hours of first contact (in most circumstances)
  • National Stalking Helpline 0808 802 0300
  • Paladin - National Stalking Advocacy Service Tel: 0207 840 8960
  • The Alice Ruggles Trust - putting an end to stalking

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