If you think someone you know is experiencing relationship abuse, there are lots of ways in which you can help them. 

Domestic violence, also referred to as domestic abuse, can happen to anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality. It can include emotional, psychological, physical, financial and sexual abuse in couple relationships (current or previous) or between family members. It can be an individual incident, or a pattern of incidents, but always involves one person having control and power over another. 

Relationship abuse is contrary to the University’s Harassment and Bullying Procedure

If someone tells you that they are suffering domestic abuse: 


Are they in immediate danger? If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile).  If you are on campus, you should tell Security (01483 68 3333) that the emergency services are on their way and give details of the individual’s location.  

Find a safe space: if an incident has just happened, try and find somewhere they feel safe. If they are on campus and this isn't possible, you can suggest they call Security on 01483 68 3333. 

What is relationship abuse? Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. 


Listen: just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help. These six active listening tips might help you support them. 

Give options: when they have finished talking ask them if they are ok to talk through some possible options and next steps:
  • If they have been physically harmed, offer to accompany them to a hospital or GP.
  • Help them to plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship – Women’s Aid have created a Survivors Handbook.
  • Help them report the abuse to the police if they choose to.
  • Provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse.
  • Support them to visit a solicitor if they are ready to take this step.
  • Offer the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and to look after an emergency bag for them.

Security: our Security team can talk through how to make a report and what support is available.
University of Surrey Students Union (USSU) can talk students through what options are available and support you through the process. This support includes attending any meetings with the University.     

Trade unions are organised groups of workers who come together to support each other in the workplace. The University of Surrey recognises three campus trade unions: Unison, UCU and Unite.     

Report and Support: students and staff can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. They can choose to do this anonymously or request support from a member of staff. The University takes every report seriously and carefully considers what action to take.

Report a Wellbeing Concern is a quick and easy way to let us know about a concern that you have for a University of Surrey student. It can be completed by anyone including other students, family, friends and staff. 

Get Support       

Find out what support is available if you are experiencing domestic abuse

Mental Health and Wellbeing

1 in 4 people are affected by a mental health problem in any year and it is estimated that around 1 in 5 people have contemplated suicide or self-harm.     

If you are worried or concerned find out more about how you can help them.
Take care of yourself: it’s important that you take care of yourself. If you’ve heard something distressing or if something is troubling you, the University's Centre for Wellbeing offers confidential help and is open to students.

The Employee Assistance Programme, BHSF RISE, gives staff access to free personalised, on-demand advice and support from a team of mental health, financial and legal experts, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


There are two ways you can tell us what happened