Chat to us online
We understand it can be difficult to pick up the phone. You can use Refuge’s live chat service to talk to our expert, all-female Helpline team online, in confidence. This service is open Monday to Friday, 3pm – 10pm.Chat to us live
Are you safe to chat to us?
If you have any worries about the privacy of the device you’re currently using, you should:
- Write on a piece of paper you can hide somewhere safe the following web addresses - www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk and refuge.org.uk and the number of the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, 0808 2000 247.
- Click the exit button on the bottom right of the page to leave this site quickly.
- Call us on the Helpline, or access the above websites on a device you know is safe. You can find instructions for keeping your device private on our Tech Safety Tool (available in English, Urdu, Spanish and Polish).
How can live chat support me?
We can provide emotional support and information on your rights and options over live chat. However, we cannot provide referrals to refuges. If you need refuge, you can call our Helpline or arrange a safe time for us to call you via our contact form.
You may be placed in a queue for the live chat service – we do get very busy, and will get to you as soon as we can.
In an emergency, please call 999.
Frequently asked questions
Online, we can chat about what you’re going through and you can ask us any questions you like. We will not judge you or tell you what to do. It doesn’t matter whether you are still with the person you want to talk to us about, or whether you have left. You may even have left many years ago. Or maybe you’re not sure whether what you’re experiencing is abuse. Whatever your situation, we are here for you. Our Helpline online team can take you through your rights and options, refer you to specialist services (apart from refuges), and support you to think about your safety and the safety of any children. We cannot make referrals to refuges on live chat. If you are seeking refuge, or if you are planning to leave your abusive partner, please call us, any time of the day or night, on 0808 2000 247. You can also complete a webform to arrange a safe time for us to call you back, or leave us a voicemail. If it is an emergency, call 999.
Refuge’s live chat service is confidential. We won’t share any information you give us with a third party unless you ask us to. The only exception to this is where there is a serious risk of harm to you or others, or where a child is believed to be at risk of harm, when we may have to share information without your permission.
The chat platform Refuge uses has end-to-end encryption. That means only you and the person you're chatting with can read the content of the messages being sent. There is one important exception: some perpetrators of abuse find ways to monitor what their partners are doing online in ‘real time’. For example, by installing spyware onto a woman’s device. If you suspect anyone else can see what you are doing on the device you are currently using, you should not use the live chat service. Instead, call us on a phone you know is safe on 0808 2000 247. If you have another device you know is secure, you can read more about how technology might be used to abuse and control, and use Refuge’s Tech Safety Tool, which gives instructions on keeping your devices private.
Once the chat has finished, or if you use the exit button at any point during your chat with us, it will be deleted and contents of the chat will not be stored anywhere. The only exception would be if you took screenshots or photographs of the conversation and saved them on your device, which we would not recommend.
You will be chatting with one of our expert, female Helpline team members. The same women who pick up the phones on our National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
You will not be able to get a copy of the chat transcript, because it will be deleted as soon as the chat is over, for your safety and privacy. However, you can request a copy of the notes we write on our chat with you, which will be kept stored on Refuge’s secure database. You will need to email HelplineManager@refuge.org.uk and verify your identity before we release your notes, for your safety. This may involve a telephone call.
What is it like to
call the Helpline?
If you are in an emergency situation, please call 999
We are a team of highly-trained, female advisers. We won’t judge you or tell you what to do; we are here to listen.
We will empower you to understand your options and support you to make any decisions about the future.
We can support you to increase your safety. We can help you find a refuge place, or other specialist services.
We can talk in confidence, in many different languages, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, for as long as you need.
Support for men experiencing domestic abuse
We recognise that men can experience domestic abuse too. Nobody should have to live in fear of their partner. There are specialist services to support men.Go to mensadviceline.org.uk