I think I have experienced relationship abuse
Relationship abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity, and is never the fault of the person receiving the abuse. Abusive relationships can create an environment where it is very difficult to see what you are experiencing as abusive and wrong, and getting to the stage of even thinking about seeking support is a huge step in taking care of yourself.
When you have been, or are currently experiencing relationship abuse, there is no right or wrong way to feel. It may be that lots of complicated and conflicting thoughts are going through your mind, and the most important thing we want you to know is that you are not alone, and there is support at University for you.
We want your priority to be your safety, health, and comfort. For many people, talking to a friend or relative about what happened and how you’re feeling is important to support your safety, health, and comfort. However, we know that for a lot of people, talking to friends or family members may not be what is best for you at the moment, or you may want a combination of both, and so we want to let you know about all the options for talking to someone and getting support.
Immediate help and advice if you have experienced sexual assault.
The Bridge (Bristol’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre) offers medical care, emotional and psychological support, and practical help to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, regardless of your gender, sexuality or identity. Their advisers are trained to look after the needs of a survivor of rape or sexual assault to ensure they receive the best possible care and understanding. They also offer examinations for forensic evidence if the incident was less than 8 days ago. Contact them 24/7 for free on 0117 342 6999.
The Survivor Pathway is also an online resource for anyone wanting to know more about specialist sexual violence support services in the South West.
Support at the University
- Wellbeing Advisers are available for all students and are a great way to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, and they can make referrals to the Student Counselling Service if further support would be helpful for you.
- Sexual Violence Liaison Officer support If your experience has included sexual abuse, the University has specifically trained staff who can talk through your options and make sure you are able to access specialist and more general support.
- We know that when people experience relationship abuse of any kind, it can have an impact on being able to engage or focus on your studies. Please consider submitting exceptional circumstances if your studies have been or are being affected. A Wellbeing Adviser can help you with this so you don’t need to share any details of what happened.
- Consent Collective TV is an online archive of videos and resources which have been created by specialists to offer you self-directed support in understand what is going on for you.
- There is more information here about wellbeing support available to all students at the University which is not specific to sexual assault.
- There is more information here about wellbeing support for students with protected characteristics.
Other sources of support
- Next Link. Crisis support and temporary supported housing for women and children experiencing abuse.
- National Domestic Violence helpline. Call 0808 2000 247 for confidential advice 24/7.
- Mankind. Their confidential helpline is available for men suffering from violence or abuse by their current or former intimate partner.
- National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse helpline run by Galop provides emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse.
- Karma Nirvana run the national Honour Based Abuse Helpline and work to end all forms of honour based violence, including forced marriage, genital mutilation, and relationship abuse.
Reporting what happened
- Deciding whether to report what has happened to you is a very personal decision, and no one should ever put any pressure on you to make any particular decision.
- We encourage all students who are considering reporting to speak with a Student Liaison Officer in the Student Resolution Service to make sure you have all the information you need, and the opportunity to talk through your options.
- You can report an incident anonymously using the Anonymous reporting form. We will not be able to take any direct action as a result of an anonymous report or contact you to offer further support. There is more information about how we use anonymous reports here.
- You can also submit a formal report to the Student Resolution Service. You can get in touch with the Student Resolution Service either by filling in the Request Contact from an Adviser form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There is more information about what happens when you contact the Student Resolution Service here.
- Reporting to the police. You can report a crime by calling the non-emergency number, 101 or online. You can also talk to Sian Harris, who is the University’s dedicated Police Officer, and a part of her role is in answering questions and giving advice to students.