Helping you get through tough times

What to do if you’re in an abusive relationship

You should not feel you have to stay in a relationship if you’re experiencing any physical to emotional or verbal abuse.

mottled metalIf you are in an abusive relationship, the most important thing is stay safe. This can be difficult, but there are services to help you plan for safety.

If you’re in immediate danger

If you are in danger of being hurt, or you are worried about your safety, contact police or emergency services (999) immediately and try to move to somewhere safe.

Do you have support?

Making a decision to leave a situation where you feel unsafe may be difficult. If possible, talk to someone you trust, like a friend, family member, counsellor or youth worker who understands domestic violence.

Contact one of the organisations listed below, they can give you relevant information on seeking help.

Talk to the police

If you feel unsafe or scared, the police can be good people to talk to. If you or someone you know have been hurt, contact emergency services (999) immediately.

Trust your instincts

If someone is hurting you or threatening to, it can be hard to maintain your self­-confidence.

Remember it is NEVER OK for someone to hurt or threaten to hurt you for any reason.

Know your rights

It may be a good idea to check out your legal rights. Try Flac to find out what you can.

Where will I go?

Recognising there is a problem is the first stage of getting help and there are a number of options available if you need to get out fast. Remember that you are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

A couple of options include:

Refuges: A shelter or refuge is a place where you can seek temporary accommodation to sort out your next steps. There are also usually a number of other services available in refuges, including legal advice, emotional support, practical help (like food and clothing), and good security.

Family or friends: If you can, get in contact with a family member or friend you trust and ask if you can stay with them while you work out what to do next.

Other things to consider

Legal support

There are a number of laws in place that you can use to protect yourself from domestic or intimate partner violence

Medical support

f you are injured or have been sexually assaulted, contact emergency services or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.

Where to get help if you’re in an abusive relationship

Talk to someone

Listen to your feelings and trust them. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Talk to someone you trust. Talk to parent, family member, friend, doctor or contact an organisation that can help.

Don’t feel ashamed. You’re not responsible for the abusive behaviour of someone else. Your first responsibility is to yourself, so get safe and stay safe.

Contact the organisations listed below for professional support.

Women’s Aid provides support to women and their children who are being physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused in their homes. Call their National Freephone Helpline on 1800341900.

Aoibhneas is a women and children’s refuge. Call their 24-hour helpline on 01 8670701 for advice and information on your situation or email

Rape Crisis Help provides nationwide support for the victims of sexual abuse. Their free helpline is 1800 778 888.

Immigrant Council of Ireland has information on migrant women’s rights and domestic violence.

AkiDwA is a national network of African and migrant women living in Ireland, that aims to promote equality and justice. Call them on 01 8148582 or email

National Office for Victims of Abuse provides assistance, support and advice for people in abusive relationships. Freephone 1800 252 524 or call 01 872 8482. For emergency situations that require immediate and urgent assistance call 999.


This article was last reviewed on 03 May 2017

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