Domestic Abuse: Find help and support

The aim of this page is to help find local and national services who provide support to people who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse.

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Wokingham specialist domestic abuse services

Wokingham Domestic Abuse Support Service:

The commissioned domestic abuse service for Wokingham is delivered by Cranstoun. Support includes:

  • 24-hour helpline
  • Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy (IDVA)
  • Outreach
  • Support for children and young people
  • Support for people who are concerned with their behaviour and want to make changes
  • A range of group-based programmes

Tel: 0118 402 1921
Website: Cranstoun

Kaleidoscopic UK:

Wokingham based organisation for survivors by survivors of domestic abuse in all its forms.  Multiple open-ended support groups are provided throughout the survivor journey, all of which are survivor-led, free, without threshold, independent and confidential.

Web: Kaleidoscopic

SupportU

Support for people from the LGBTQ+ community across the Thames Valley area, including counselling; helpline and an online chat facility. SupportU can offer organisational training including on equalities and procedures; diversity; schools and education input and bespoke training.  Specialist IDVA (Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate) and ISVA (Specialist Independent Sexual Abuse Advocate)

Tel: 0118 321 9111
Website: Support U

BWA (Berkshire Women’s Aid)

BWA operate refuge provision in Wokingham for female victims of domestic abuse and provides support, advocacy and places of safety in Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell and West Berkshire.

Tel: 0118 950 4003
Website: Berkshire Women's Aid

Access to refuge accommodation:

Cranstoun and Berkshire Women's Aid are able to access a database of available refuge spaces across the country.

Wokingham Homelessness Team are able to advise victim-survivors of domestic abuse as to what options are available to them and assist in accessing refuge or other safe accommodation. 

The following national helplines can also help individuals to access refuge accommodation:

Other support services:

Further support information can be found in the domestic abuse section of our website.

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Safety planning checklist for victim-survivors

A safety plan is individual to each person and where possible should be created with a domestic abuse specialist.

The following checklist consists of some suggestions and things to think about which may be helpful:

  1. Is there somewhere safe you can flee to if you need to leave your home in an emergency?
  2. If you become trapped in your home, is there a room or place you can get to quickly where you can phone for help and be safe until it arrives?
  3. If you have children, teach them how to dial 999 in an emergency
  4. If you think you may need to call a trusted friend or family member for help, it can be helpful to think of a code word which will alert them that you need help.
  5. If possible, try to learn telephone numbers for support services and friends or if you can’t remember these, is there somewhere you could keep these where they wouldn’t be discovered, or disguised in some way.
  6. If possible, try to hide some money so that you have a bus or taxi fares in an emergency
  7. If possible, try to get an extra set of keys for the house and car and keep these in a hidden location, with money and anything else you may need should you have to leave quickly. This could potentially be with a trusted friend or neighbour.
  8. Reassure your children and let them know that the abuse is not their fault
  9. Talk to trusted friends, relatives, your doctor or nurse about how you feel
  10. If you are able to access some money without your abuser being aware, consider opening a savings account in your name so that you can access this money when you need it
  11. If at all possible, always try to take your children with you if you need to flee, or make arrangements to leave them somewhere safe if this is not possible
  12. Make plans for pets, if you are unable to take them with you (pet fostering schemes are available for domestic abuse victims, so they can be safe until you are able to in settled accommodation)
  13. Citizens Advice or a solicitor can to discuss what options are available to you relating to benefits, housing, debts and civil injunctions
  14. Try to do things which would get you out of the house, such as walking your dog, putting out the rubbish or going to the shops to practice how you would leave.
  15. Consider leaving a bag with a trusted friend or relative containing the items you would need if you had to leave urgently.

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Local and national support services

Local domestic abuse services:

Search the community directory for local services who offer support and advice to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. 

National domestic abuse services:

  • National 24/7 domestic abuse helpline (female victims): 0808 2000 247
  • Male Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
  • Mankind Initiative: 01823 334244
  • National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline: 0800 999 5428
  • Respect phone line (for perpetrators): 0808 802 4040

Further national support organisations

Search the community directory for national organisations that provide advice and support to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse.

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Support for male victims and survivors

Advice and help for male victims of domestic abuse:

Respect - Men’s Advice Line

Tel: 0808 801 0327

Website: Men’s Advice Line

Mankind Initiative

Tel: 01823 334244

Website: Mankind Initiative 

Male Rape

Support for male survivors of sexual abuse.

Email: colin@male-rape.org.uk

Website: Male Rape

Safeline national male survivor helpline

Support, information and advice to men and boys affected by sexual abuse or rape

Telephone 0808 800 5005

Website: Safeline

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LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) specialist services

LAGLO’s (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers) Thames Valley Police

LAGLOs are police officers and staff who are dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender+ communities, working to build trust and confidence, encourage people to report homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and support LGB&T witnesses and victims of crime. LAGLOs will treat what you tell them sensitively and in confidence.

Tel: 101 and ask to speak to a LAGLO

Social Media: Thames Valley Police LAGLOs Twitter page

Galop

Supporting LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence.

Tel: 0800 999 5428

Website: Galop

Sexual health and sexuality support services

Search the community directory for support service for LGBT+ community.

Support for perpetrators

The Wokingham Domestic Abuse Support Service, Cranstoun delivers 1:1 support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans + people who want to make changes to address their abusive or controlling behaviour.

Tel: 0118 402 1921

Website: Cranstoun

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Support services for black and minoritised women

Find support services

Search the community directory to find black and minority ethnic (BME) support service.

Support information

The Home Office working in partnership with Southall Black Sisters have deveoped a leaflet aimed specifically at women in black and minority ethnic communities. It covers advice on the three steps to escaping violence and abuse. The leaflet can be downloaded from the UK Government website.

A list of specialist resource can be found on the UK Government website.

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Support for children and young people

Search the directory for services that support young people with:

Visit our mental health support pages for information on counselling service, online tools and resources to help manage children and young people's mental health and wellbeing: 

If you are concerned about a child or feel you might need some extra support visit our child protection and family support section of our website.

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Support for those in the armed forces

Army Welfare Service (AWS) operates a strict confidentiality policy, to ensure that personal information is not passed to anyone outside of AWS without the person's consent with the exception of situations where there is risk to self or other, serious criminal acts including breaches of security or if operational effectiveness is seriously compromised. Personal Support (PS) staff provide accessible, independent, confidential and professional specialist welfare services to soldiers and their families with any personal or family difficulty.

Tel: 01904 882053 (Intake and Assessment Team)
Email: RC-AWS-IAT-0Mailbox@mod.uk

The Ministry of Defence provides information and guidance for those affected by or dealing with cases of domestic abuse in the armed forces community including a practitioner’s handbook, visit the UK Government website to view the guidance.

The Armed Forces Domestic Abuse website provides information and support on Domestic Abuse to the Armed Forces Community including serving personnel, their friends and family, veterans, the Chain of Command and civilian and military support providers.

Royal Navy

The Navy Family and People Service provides advice and support for Royal Navy personnel and their families.

Website: Royal Navy

Royal Air Force (RAF) Support and Social Work Service

Provides confidential personal support and social work services for the Royal Air Force community, which is delivered by SSAFA.

Helpline: 0800 260 6767

Website: ssafa the armed forces charity

Combat Stress

Help former servicemen and women deal with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

Telephone 0800 138 1619

Website: Combat Stress

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Information for professionals to support those who have sensory needs

Supporting people who have hearing difficulties

The following tips have been provided by deafPLUS for how services can help respond to the 1 in 7 people who have some form of deafness or hearing difficulties. 

  • Ensure BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters are offered to people who sign
  • Ensure a loop system is fitted to all rooms and if this is not possible, a portable loop is available and regularly tested
  • If the person relies on lip reading, it is important to ask where the person would like to sit in a room as lighting and positioning can make a big difference
  • Ensure that you are facing a deaf person when speaking to them and that you speak clearly – shouting or speaking slower than normal distorts the lip pattern and makes lip reading harder
  • Ensure that you don’t put your hands to your face as this obscured the mouth for lip reading
  • Cut out as much background noise as possibly
  • Ensure you offer a fax number, email and text number (where possible) on publicity and request that people who may require communication support contact you with their requirements.

The Deaf Health Charity Signhealth provides an emotional and practical support service for those experiencing domestic abuse, visit the website to make a referral

Supporting people who are blind or partially sighted

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is able to help with the translation of information into Braille, audio and large print formats and can be contacted on:

Tel: 01733 375370

Website: RNIB

Berkshire Vision support blind and partially sighted children and adults to live independently.

Tel: 0118 987 2803

Website: Berkshire Vision

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Support and help relating to harassment and sexual assault

Crimestoppers

Crimestoppers provides an anonymous 24/7 phone number for people to call to pass on information about crime alongside anonymous online reporting. 

Tel: 0800 555 111

Website: Crimestoppers

Revenge Porn Helpline

The Revenge Porn Helpline supports adult victims of intimate image abuse who live in the UK. We provide advice, guidance and support with helping to remove intimate content which has been non-consensual shared online.

Tel: 0845 6000 459

Website: Revenge Porn Helpline

NSPCC Child Trafficking  

Specialist service providing information and advice about child trafficking.

Modern Slavery Helpline: 0800 012 1700

Website: NSPCC

Rape Crisis England & Wales

Is the umbrella body for a network of independent Rape Crisis Centres. All our member Centres provide specialist support and services for victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Website:

Male Rape

Support for male survivors of sexual abuse.

Email: colin@male-rape.org.uk

Website: Male Rape

Safeline national male survivor helpline

Support, information and advice to men and boys affected by sexual abuse or rape

Telephone 0808 800 5005

Website: Safeline

National Stalking Helpline

Operated by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the National Stalking Helpline gives practical information, support, and advice on risk, safety planning and legislation to victims of stalking, their friends, family, and professionals working with victims.

Phone: 0808 802 0300

Website: Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Modern Slavery and Exploitation helpline

Information, advice and guidance about any modern slavery issue to potential victims, the public and businesses with an online form for reporting any concerns.

Tel: 0800 0121 7000

Website: unseen UK

Victim Support

Independent, free and confidential support and advice service to help people to cope and recover after being a victim of a crime and traumatic incidents.

Website: Victim Support

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Helpline  

24 hour helpline run by the NSPCC to advise, support and protect vulnerable children from FGM

Tel: 0800 028 3550

Email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

Other support

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS)

You might be able to claim compensation if you were the victim of a violent crime through the criminal injuries compensation scheme. For details of eligibility criteria and to make a claim visit the UK Government website

CICA phoneline: 0300 003 3601

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Mental Health support

Find support services

Search the community directory for mental health support services.

Prisoner's families

Prisoners' families helpline is a free, confidential service for anyone who loved one is in contact with the criminal justice system.

Helpline: 0808 808 2003
Website: Prisoners' Families Helpline

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Help with drug and / or alcohol dependency

Search our community directory for local and national substance misuse support services.

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Steps to take to improve your online safety and reduce chances of being harassed online

Whilst the internet can provide many positive things it can also be used as a means of intimidating, stalking or harassing people.

By taking some steps, you can help to improve your safety and reduce the chances of being abused or controlled through electronic and mobile communication means. The below information is provided to give some suggestions about improving online safety, however it may not always be safe to take some of these measures if you are still living with your partner or where the abuse is likely to move from online to in-person harassment.

Computers and laptops

  • Have your computer checked for spy software, using an anti-spyware programme
  • If you are unsure if your computer is ‘safe’ use a friend’s computer or one in a library and delete your history when you have finished
  • Change passwords to complex ones your abuser wouldn’t be able to guess 

Mobile phones

  • Consider getting a new SIM Card for your mobile so you have a new number which isn’t known to your abuser. You can still keep your old SIM Card if you still need to be in contact with your abuser.
  • Do not answer calls or texts from the person who is bothering you or being malicious towards you
  • Save any abusive text or voice messages for evidence
  • Make sure you have caller ID and an answer machine on landlines so that you can screen calls
  • Contact your provider to see if you are able to block callers
  • Be aware that tracking software may have been installed on your phone. 

Email accounts

  • Change your email addresses and make sure the new one is anonymous by not using your name or nickname
  • Save any abusive emails as evidence but do not reply to them
  • Use a different provider and create multiple addresses for different purposes – e.g. trusted friends, social network, financial

Online Accounts

Consider deleting your existing online accounts and use your new email addresses

Passwords

Create completely new passwords and make sure they are not easy to guess by someone who knows you  

Social Networks

  • Delete any dormant or unused accounts so they can’t be resurrected by someone else
  • Close your existing account, or if this is not possible, block the person who is bothering you
  • Open a new account with a less popular site, using an obscure name, information and without your picture
  • Only add your most trusted friends and make sure you and your friends have the highest privacy settings
  • Ask friends not to post photos or messages about you on-line

If you have just ended a relationship

Be aware that your ex-partner may try to contact or harass you so be prepared. Advise your employers, family members and friends that you do not wish to have any contact with your ex and not to give them your details whatever the excuse.

What to do if you are being stalked or harassed

If you are the victim of stalking or harassment, you should contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, you only need to report two separate occurrences to the police before they can act.

Try to gather evidence for the police such as a diary of what has happened, what time and date; a copy of chat conversations or postings online; making a note of the date, time and telephone number by dialling 1471 after the call is terminated

Find further information about online safety

Search the community directory for national organisations who provide information about online safety.

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Legal information, advice and support services

Find a solicitor

Visit the Law Society website to find a list of solicitor.

Search the community directory for services that provide legal advice and assistance.

Legal aid

Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal.

You’ll usually need to show that:

  • your case is eligible for legal aid
  • the problem is serious
  • you cannot afford to pay for legal costs

Go to the UK Government website to find out the eligibility criteria and how to claim.

If you aren't eligible for legal aid you might be able to get free and confidential advice from Civil Legal Advice (CLA). Visit the UK Government website for further information.

Flag DV is a Thames Valley wide service to provide victims of domestic abuse with a one-on-one free legal advice appointment with a qualified family law solicitor

Other support services

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Help with money matters and practical support

Financial assistance, benefits and information

Search the community directory for services who offer financial assistance.

Food Bank

Search the directory to find a local food bank.

Housing

Search the directory to find services who provide advice and support with housing.

Practical support

Search the directory to find a range of local organisation and charities offering support including help with practical items such as clothing, furniture, toiletries and food.

Employment and training

Visit our support finding and job web page to find local advice and support services. 

Further support services can be found in our community directory for:

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Services to help perpetrators who want to change their behaviour

Wokingham Domestic Abuse Support Service: Cranstoun

Cranstoun delivers support for people who want to make changes to address their abusive or controlling behaviour.

Cranstoun delivers a Men & Masculinities programme designed to develop men’s understanding of themselves and their relationships. It is free and accessible for any men who are aware their relationships have become distressing and damaged by their abusive behaviour, violence or issues of coercive control. The programme will work with a range of clients, including those that have substance misuse and / or mental health issues.

Tel: 0118 402 1921

Website: Cranstoun

Everyman Project

Working with perpetrators to address the root causes of their violence and abuse.

Tel: 0203 642 8850

Website: Everyman Project

British Association of Anger Management

Telephone: 0845 1300 286

Website Anger Manage

Respect - Men’s Advice Line

Confidential helpline, email and web chat service for domestic abuse perpetrators and those supporting them.

Tel: 0808 801 0327

Website: Respect Phoneline

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation  

Helpline for those worried about their own sexual thoughts or behaviour towards children.

Helpline: 0808 1000 900

Website: Lucy Faithfull

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Domestic Abuse Definition

Domestic abuse is any single incident, course of conduct or pattern of abusive behaviour between individuals aged 16 or over who are “personally connected” to each other as a result of being, or having been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. Children who see, hear or experience the effects of the abuse and are related to either of the parties are also considered victims of domestic abuse.

Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following: physical or sexual abuse; violent or threatening behaviour; controlling or coercive behaviour; economic abuse; or psychological, emotional or other abuse.  This includes incidences where the abusive party directs their behaviour at another person (e.g. a child).  Economic abuse means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on someone’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or obtain goods or services.

This incorporates harmful traditional practices for example but not limited to ‘honour’ killings, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. 

For the full legal definition of domestic abuse, see Part 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act.

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Watch helpful videos

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Page last reviewed: 03/08/2022

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