Domestic violence

If you are being abused, threatened, physically or sexually assaulted by a partner, ex-partner or family member, this is domestic violence. It is important to recognise this is happening to you, understand you are not to blame, and get help and support. There are a range of organisations locally and nationally that can provide help and support, and explore the options available to you, whether or not you want to leave the relationship (go to help and support below).

Domestic violence involves a pattern of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional), between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic and other communities such as so-called ‘honour based violence’, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

Anyone can experience domestic violence - it can happen in any relationships regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, income, geography or lifestyle. Physical and sexual violence often gets worse over time, and can be very dangerous, particularly for women, and especially at the point of separation. Research shows, however, that domestic violence is gendered: most perpetrators are male and most victims are female, and the gender of both victim and perpetrator influences behaviour, risk, and the severity of harm caused.

Domestic violence also presents a risk of harm to children and young people, by either witnessing domestic violence whilst growing up, being directly abused themselves, or by experiencing domestic violence in their relationships as teenagers.

For more information about domestic violence data and action to prevent domestic violence in the city, see:


Sexual violence

If you are or have experienced any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature, you are not to blame, and there is help available. There are a range of organisations locally and nationally that can provide help, counselling and support, and explore the options available to you, whether or not you want to leave the relationship (go to help and support below).

Sexual violence and abuse is any behaviour perceived to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding. This includes:

  • rape and sexual assault
  • sexual violence and abuse (by partners, family members and by strangers)
  • sexual harassment
  • child sexual abuse
  • sexual exploitation associated with trafficking and the sex industry.

The sex industry includes prostitution, pornography and other commercial sex-based activities such as lap-dancing, often - but not solely - associated with the ‘night time economy’. Trafficking into and within the UK is internationally recognised to be linked to prostitution; facilitating the movement of women for prostitution within (as well as across) borders constitutes trafficking. State agencies have a responsibility to tackle the demand for prostitution (UN Optional Protocol on Trafficking in Human Beings).

Anyone can be affected by sexual violence and abuse, including women, men, children and young people. It has a devastating impact on victims, their families and friends and wider society, and the impact on individuals is likely to affect mental, physical and sexual health.

For more information about sexual violence data and action to prevent sexual violence in the city, see:

Violence against women

Violence against women is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman, or that affects women disproportionately. This includes:

  • domestic violence
  • rape and sexual violence
  • stalking
  • sexual harassment
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • crimes in the name of ‘honour’
  • sexual exploitation, including that associated with trafficking and the sex industry (prostitution and pornography)

These crime types disproportionately affect women and are most often perpetrated by known men, to exert power and control. Nearly half of women are likely to experience such violence in their lifetime. Violence against women is one of the most serious inequalities facing women in the UK today: nationally and internationally this is recognised as a fundamental violation of human rights, a cause and consequence of gender inequality, and of broader social, economic and cultural discrimination experienced by women.

Help and support

In an emergency always call the police by dialling 999 (minicom 0800 112 999) if you are at risk or in immediate danger. Otherwise call the police on 101.  

The Amber Card is a useful pocket-sized card produced by the Community Safety Partnership, which has information for women, men, young people and children on how to access help and support for domestic and sexual violence, in the city and nationally. Further information is available on the Safe in the City website. Amber cards are also available for download in different languages

Or, you can contact local specialist domestic and sexual violence services directly:

Rise provides support for women, children, young people and families affected by domestic violence in Brighton & Hove and across West Sussex. Rise services include:

  • refuge accommodation
  • crisis appointments
  • helpline
  • counselling
  • independent support (including an LGBT advisory service)
  • individual and group support
  • solicitors appointments
  • play therapy
  • training and preventative education

Telephone: (01273) 622822 or use their online contact form.

Survivors’ Network provides support and help for female survivors of sexual violence and abuse, and delivers the independent sexual violence advisory service for men as well as women. Services include:

  • advocacy
  • drop-in support
  • counselling
  • group work
  • specialist support for young women 14 years old upwards
  • support for parents, partners and friends of survivors

Telephone: (01273) 203380 or email Survivors' Network at

National helplines: