Abuse takes many forms
It can be emotional, physical, sexual or financial. It can be words or actions. At home or in the street. It can be inflicted by a partner, ex-partner, family member, colleague, friend or stranger. It can be in person, through technology and online.
Whatever form it takes, abuse is never justified. Any behaviour that demeans, frightens or distresses is abuse. It has to stop.
Knowing what abuse is helps us all recognise it when it happens. We can all do something to keep women and girls safe.
Help stop abuse
There are many simple and safe ways to help stop the abuse of women and girls. Even small acts of recognition and support can help disrupt it. Here are four ways you can step in safely – just think STOP.
You could say something to the abuser, like ‘I don’t think that’s funny’. Or you could be more direct and tell them to stop.
You could tell someone in charge, like the bar staff if you’re in a pub, HR if you’re at work or the bus driver if you’re on public transport.
You could give support to both the victim and to others who are already intervening.
Provide a diversion
You could create a distraction to interrupt what’s happening and give the person being targeted a chance to move away.
What do you know about abuse towards women and girls?
How many women and girls have experienced abuse? Are most sexual assaults committed by strangers or people known to the victim? What is controlling or coercive behaviour?
The more we understand the problem, the better our chances of stopping the abuse of women and girls.
Getting support if you experience abuse
You don’t have to deal with this alone, and it’s never your fault. Find out what support is available to help you.
Reporting violence and abuse
If you've experienced or witnessed abuse, you might want to report it. Find out more about who you can report it to. If you think someone is in immediate danger, call 999.
I’ve been groped, catcalled, flashed at, verbally and physically abused and stalked, all before I was 20. The men involved will have done the same to many other women.*
The abuse of women and girls has consequences for everyone. Find out more about the impact abuse has on women, men, families, communities and society as a whole.Impact of abuse
*Testimonials are anonymous to protect identities, but all are based on real experiences