Help and advice about domestic abuse



*Domestic and sexual abuse support during the restrictions in response to Coronavirus*

Change Grow Live’s Portal Service is an East Sussex domestic abuse charity in partnership with RISEUK and Survivors Network.  

We understand that domestic or sexual abuse can happen to anyone, and we believe you. If you would like advice and support, we are here for you. With the UK in a lockdown due to the spread of Covid-19, lots of adults and children are staying home much more than usual. 

We are still here for you

If you or someone you know needs help with domestic or sexual abuse, you can contact The Portal via the Helpline numbers; 0300 323 9985 and listen for the option for the area you are in. If you need help with domestic abuse, you can also call 01424 716629 if you live in Hastings & Rother or 01323 417598 for all other areas in East Sussex.

We’ve put our face-to-face support on hold to help keep people safe from Covid-19, but we are still offering support and assessments over the telephone. 

We’re keeping a close eye on the situation, and working with social care services, the police, and the local council to make sure people get the protection and safety they need. 

If you are in danger and you can’t call the police, we would suggest arranging a safe word system with a trusted neighbour, family member or friend. Agree on a word and/or emoji that you can text to them quickly in an emergency, so they know to call 999. Keep your phone topped up, charged and accessible.

It can also be helpful to ask friends and family members to check up on you regularly, either online or over the phone. This is also a good way to take your mind off self-isolation.

Always remember: If you are in immediate danger, call 999, or use your safe word/emoji so someone else can contact the police for you. If you have a social worker or health visitor, get in touch with them for support and advice.

You can also contact Victim Support services as detailed further down this page.


Refuge service in East Sussex


The East Sussex service, run by Refuge, provides confidential, non-judgmental support to those who are fleeing domestic violence.  

We know that in the current climate, it is certainly more challenging for those suffering abuse. Lines of communication could be severely limited if victims are unable to leave the home.

We want to reassure those experiencing abuse that they are not alone. The lives of victims depend on being able to keep our services running and we are doing everything we can to keep them open.

We are closely monitoring the effect of COVID-19 on our refuges, and we have recently re-opened referrals to all of our refuges in East Sussex. 

Refuge is also accepting referrals in our other refuges around the country and therefore If you are worried about a loved one, or about isolating with a perpetrator, please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact the Helpline via Refuge’s contact form at To ensure your safety you can let us know how to contact you and what time to contact you. In an emergency, always be ready to call 999 if you are in danger.”

How to get help – the Police

You can report rape and sexual abuse in the following ways:

By calling 101


In person at your local police station

Remember to always call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS)  - or Clare’s Law – is a way to find out vital information to help you make a decision about whether it’s safe for you to continue your relationship. If you, or someone you know, has concerns about a relationship or think they may be at risk of abuse, you have the right to ask the police if a partner has had a history of violence or abuse.  You can find out more about the scheme, how it can help, and where you can find support by clicking here or watching this video on YouTube.

How to get help – specialist services


If you’ve been affected by domestic or sexual abuse or violence contact The Portal to find out more about the help, advice and support available. The Portal is a partnership of leading Sussex Domestic and Sexual Abuse Charities including cgl, which also offers a range of other services in East Sussex.  


To contact The Portal, call 01323 417598 for Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden.

01424 716629 for Hastings, Rother and Rye. You can also contact the Portal online 

How to get help – children


If you are worried about a child or teenager who might be at risk of harm or in danger:


In an emergency call 999


Otherwise contact the Single Point of Advice (SPOA) team: Phone: 01323 464222

SPOA opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm, Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

How to get help – adults


If you are concerned that you or someone you know about may be being abused, neglected or exploited, contact Adult Social Care.

If the person is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.

Otherwise Phone: 0345 60 80 191, 8am to 8pm 7 days a week including bank holidays.

How to get help – national


24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline

Freephone 0808 2000 247 

For women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf

National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) 

0844 8044 999

NCDV provides a free, fast emergency service to survivors of domestic violence, regardless of race, financial situation, gender or sexual orientation. They work closely with partner agencies and help people apply for an injunction quickly.

Crimestoppers want to encourage you to learn the signs to spot domestic abuse, so that if you do see or hear something, you can speak up and tell us what you know. 100% anonymously - guaranteed.

In an emergency, always call 999. If it’s not an emergency and you’d prefer to stay anonymous, contact us online or on the phone by calling 0800 555 111, 100% anonymously - guaranteed.

National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline

Freephone 0800 999 5428

Emotional and practical support for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse

Men’s Advice Line

Freephone 0808 801 0327

Confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner or ex-partner (or from other family members 

Karma Nirvana

Freephone 0808 5999 247   

Immediate and on-going support for victims of Forced Marriage and so-called ‘Honour Based’ Abuse 

Respect Phone Line     

Freephone 0808 802 4040   

A confidential helpline for people who are abusive and/or violent towards their current or ex-partner. Offers information and advice to support perpetrators to stop their violence and change their abusive behaviours. 



Members of the Safer Communities Partnership