Help and advice about domestic abuse

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people who are 16 years and older, who have been in a relationship, or between family members. It can affect anybody, regardless of their gender or sexuality.

The violence can be psychological, physical, sexual or emotional. It can include honour based violence, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage.

Keeping Safe

There are some basic steps which may help to increase your own safety. It is important that you seek help if you are planning to leave an abusive relationship and not put yourself at any further risk.

  • Don't underestimate any threats.
  • Keep a log of incidents. You can get help with this by contacting your trusted friends, family and services or agencies.
  • Work out a safety plan to protect yourself. You can do this by contacting the services or agencies below.
  • Keep copies or originals of important identification documents.
  • Try to put aside any spare money and clothes.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers with the contact numbers below for help and support.
  • Know where to go in a crisis. 

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) was launched by the Home Office on 8 March 2014. You may have heard the scheme referred to as 'Clare's Law'.

The aim of this scheme is to give members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquiries about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive towards their partner.

For more information on the scheme follow this link to
Sussex Police.

Where can I get help?

The Portal is a partnership of RISE, CRI and Survivors Network, three leading Sussex abuse charities with over 60 years’ experience, and a proven track record

The Portal provides a single point of access and helps victim/survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse to find advice and support in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. Information is also available to family and friends.

Anyone affected by domestic or sexual abuse or violence can visit the website and find to find out more about the help, advice and support available.   

Alternatively call The Portal Freephone number 0300 323 9985 or email

Professionals can also contact The Portal for advice and information, as well as to make a referral. ‘Guidance for Professionals’ and ‘The Portal Referral Form’ are available at

Sussex Police

In an emergency call the police on 999. You can also use 101 to give information to the police or make an enquiry.


If you want to go to a refuge for a few days or a few months, you can call any of the local services listed above or you can call the Freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 run in partnership between Refuge and Women's Aid. A refuge is a safe place to stay and you will get emotional and practical support from trained staff. 

For housing advice and support

Your local authority housing service will explain your housing options; this may mean they can increase your safety in your own home or help you to find accommodation or support.

Eastbourne Borough Council - 01323 415302
Hastings Borough Council - 01424 451100
Rother District Council - 01424 787000
Lewes District Council - 01273 484006
Wealden District Council - 01323 443380

Other advice lines

National Domestic Violence Helpline

Freephone helpline: 0808 2000 247


If you are concerned that someone else is experiencing domestic abuse and you want to give information anonymously.

Telephone: 0800 555 111

Men's Advice Line

Telephone: 0808 801 0327

Broken Rainbow Helpline

Confidential support for people experiencing domestic abuse who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Telephone: 0300 999 5428


A confidential helpline offering advice, information and support to help stop being violent and abusive. 

Telephone: 0808 802 4040

Page last updated: 23 June 2017


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