Support for friends and family

If you're concerned that a friend or family member is in an abusive relationship, it is important that you report the issue as soon as possible.

You can discuss any concerns you may have for a loved one by contacting Wigan and Leigh Domestic Abuse Helpline. They'll be able to offer you support and advise on what to do next.

In an emergency situation, always call 999.

How to spot the signs of domestic abuse

It's important to look out for the signs or ‘red flags’ associated with an abusive relationship. These are the behaviours, both physical and emotional that victims or abusers may display that show something is wrong.

We’ve put together a list of the most common signs to help you identify these types of behaviours.

Physical signs of domestic abuse

These are the most obvious signs to look out for. Re-occurring physical signs may also indicate that something is wrong.

  • Black eye
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Red or purple marks on their neck
  • Sprained wrists.

Emotional signs of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is not always physical, and neither are the signs associated with it. If you notice changes in the behaviour of a family member or friend, it may indicate that they're an abusive relationship.

  • Agitation, anxiety, or constant apprehension
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Developing a drug or alcohol problem
  • Being extremely apologetic or meek
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Seeming fearful.

How can I get help?

If you think someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can get advice and support from a number of local and national organisations.

Domestic abuse helplines and support
OrganisationContact details

Police (if you're in immediate danger)


Police (non-emergency)


Wigan Borough Domestic Abuse helpline (external link) - Support, advice and counselling for those affected by domestic abuse and anyone concerned about the wellbeing of others

01942 311365, Mon to Fri, 7am to 7pm

National Domestic Abuse (DA) Helpline (Refuge) (external link) - A national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.

0808 200 0247
(24 hour helpline)

Contact National DA online

Mankind (external link) - Confidential support and advice for male victims of domestic abuse, as well as their friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues

01823 334244, Mon to Fri 10am-4pm

(LGBT) Galop (external link) - Advice, support and referral services for LGBT people experiencing homophobic, transphobic and same sex violence

0800 999 5428, Mon to Fri 10am-5pm, Wed to Thurs 10am-8pm

© Wigan Council