Physical Violence

If you have been physically mistreated, remember:

You are not alone. The NUS Hidden Marks report revealed that 21% of women students in the UK have experienced some form of physical violence whilst they have been a student at their current institution. 11% of respondents had been subjected to serious physical violence.

It is not your fault. The responsibility for physical violence lies with the perpetrator.

There is support available. This website contains information about support services available to you and your student union will also be able to help you and point you towards local support services.

As both less and more serious physical violence towards women students is most likely to be perpetrated by someone intimately known to the victim (38% of less serious physical violence and 35% of more serious physical violence incidents), some of the support services listed in this section are domestic violence services. However, if you have been physically mistreated by someone you know intimately, please also see the domestic violence section, where you can find a more comprehensive overview of domestic violence services available to you.

What constitutes physical violence?
Who are the perpetrators of physical violence against women students?

I need medical advice/treatment.

I would like to receive emotional support, information or practical help in relation to my experiences of crime.

Where can I find more information about physical abuse from an intimate partner?

I would like to speak to someone about physical abuse from an intimate partner.

Can my student union help me?

How can I access free legal advice?

I would like to receive personal safety guidance.

I am thinking about r
eporting physical violence.
How common is physical violence against women students?


What constitutes physical violence?

Physical violence involves hitting someone or physically mistreating them in any other way. Examples of physical mistreatment may include:

  • being pushed, slapped, shoved or having your hair pulled
  • having something thrown at you that could hurt you
  • being kicked, bitten, hit with a fist or something else that could hurt you
  • being choked, dragged, strangled or burnt
  • a weapon (such as a knife or gun) being used against you

Who are the perpetrators of physical violence against women students?

38% of the less serious physical violence incidents reported in the Hidden Marks survey were perpetrated by someone intimately known to the victim. The same applied to 35% of serious physical violence incidents.

If you have been physically mistreated by someone you know intimately, please see the domestic violence section.

I need medical advice/treatment.

Call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for health advice and reassurance, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Call 999 in the case of a medical emergency.

What is a medical emergency?

Head to our Support a Friend section for more information

I would like to receive emotional support, information or practical help in relation to my experiences of crime.

Victim Support is the only independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. Victim Support works closely with the police and other criminal justice agencies and has a special arrangement with the police so that the police give them the contact details of all victims after a crime is reported. Victim Support get in touch to see if they can help. But you can just pick up the phone and call Victim Support for support whether or not the police are involved after a crime.

Victim Support provide the following types of support:

  • emotional support – to help you deal with the personal effects of crime
  • information – many people find the criminal justice system complicated and confusing. We can give you information to help make sense of what you’ve been through and to make the right choices
  • practical help – from help with filling in forms through to helping improve your home security.

Victim Support has offices right across England and Wales running and co-ordinating local services. Click here to find out where you can search for services in your area:

Where can I find more information about physical violence?

Women’s Aid Survivor’s Handbook

The Survivor’s Handbook provides practical help, support and information for women experiencing abuse. The Survivor’s Handbook provides simple and accessible guidance on every aspect of seeking support. The Survivor’s Handbook includes information on: Safety planning for women experiencing domestic violence; A guide to legal protection; The effects of domestic violence on children; Details of housing options along with a range of refuge and other domestic violence services; How domestic violence can affect health, including mental health issues and alcohol and drug use.

Click here to download the Survivor’s Handbook:

Refuge is a national domestic violence charity that offers a range of services which gives women and children access to professional support whatever their situation. Refuge believes that every woman and child experiencing domestic violence has different needs – there is no single package of services to meet those needs, no ‘one size fits all’. The Refuge website provides useful information on all of Refuge’s services as well as topics such as domestic violence warning signs and domestic violence policy and research. Click here to visit Refuge.

Women’s Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. Women’s Aid work to end violence against women and children, and support over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the country. The Women’s Aid website includes a wealth of useful information about domestic violence and support services including:

– Click here for an A-Z list of topics relating to domestic violence.

- Click here for a domestic violence service directory for locating services in your area.

To find out about your legal rights and reporting your experience to your institution or the police, visit the rights and reporting section of this website.

I would like to speak to someone about physical violence.

National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247 – The Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Refuge and Women’s Aid, is open 24 hours a day, every single day.  The helpline workers are there to give emotional support and practical information.  They help women explore their options and escape abuse.

-Scottish Women’s Aid - 0131 226 6606

- Welsh Women’s Aid0808 80 10 800

- Women’s Aid, Republic of Ireland – +353 1 868 4721, 24-hour Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900

- Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland – (028) 90 249041

Rights of Women

For free, confidential, legal advice on domestic violence contact Rights of Women women lawyers on 020 7251 6577 (020 7490 2562 textphone). Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday 2–4pm and 7–9pm. Also open Friday, 12–2pm.

To find out about your legal rights and reporting your experience to your institution or the police, visit the rights and reporting section of this website.

Can my students’ union help me?

Yes. Your students’ union is designed to be your first port-of-call for resolving any problems you experience as a student and will be able to help you find the support you need. If your institution has a Student Advice Service, they will be able to direct you to the most relevant person or service. Alternatively contact the Welfare Officer, Women’s Officer or President of your Students’ Union.

Go to our About Student’ Unions section for more information on contacting your union.

How can I access free legal advice?

Go to our rights and reporting section.

I would like to receive personal safety guidance.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust is the only UK charity entirely devoted to providing everyone in society with practical support and personal safety guidance they need to reduce their fear of crime and develop skills and strategies for avoiding crime and violence. They run a variety of services including community projects and training seminars. For details see their website. The website also contains useful information about personal safety tips including topics such as safe dating and personal safety when drinking.

Call the Suzy Lamplugh Trust on 02070910014 or www.suzylamplugh.org

I am thinking about reporting physical violence.

Go to our rights and reporting section.

How common is physical violence against women students?

The NUS Hidden Marks report revealed that 21% of women students in the UK have experienced some form of physical violence whilst they have been a student at their current institution. 11% of respondents had been subjected to serious physical violence. The table below shows the prevalence of different forms of physical violence experienced by these 21% of women students.

Prevalence of physical violence experienced by women students
Frequency %
You were pushed, slapped, shoved or had your hair pulled 143 38
You had something thrown at you that could hurt you 82 22
You were kicked, bitten, hit with a fist or something else that could hurt you 69 18
You have experienced another form of physical mistreatment or violence not described above 38 10
You were choked, dragged, strangled or burnt 32 9
A weapon (such as a knife or gun) was used against you 13 3
Total 377 100

Comments are closed.