phone-call - If our lines are closed or busy, call the 24-hour National Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 027 1234

What Happens if FAQ Series

We know making that 1st step to ask for help can be scary so we have created a series of question to answer any concerns you might have about getting in touch with us.


CASWA's What Happens if...??

what happens if I call your helpline?

- Our 0345 number connects you to one of our local teams in Wick, Thurso or Golspie. We are open between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Outside of these times our telephone has a 24hours answerphone service. All of our staff are friendly, non-judgemental and will listen to you. we will offer support and advice based on your needs and wishes.

What happens if my experience isn't bad enough

Many survivors of domestic abuse feel their experience isn't severe enough to be considered abuse. "he didn't hit wasn't all the wasn't as bad as...." are statements we often hear from survivors. If you have experienced domestic abuse and some of the statements below sound familiar we are here.

Has your partner or ex-partner ever...

-been jealous and possessive?
-been charming one minute and abusive the next, blaming you for his change in mood?
-tell you what to wear, where to go, who to see?
-constantly put you down?
- play mind games and make you doubt your judgement?
-control your money and question every penny you spend?
-pressure you to engage in sexual activities even when you don’t want to?
-make you doubt your own sanity?
-monitor or track your movements or messages?
-used anger and intimidation to frighten and control you?
-hit, kicked or physically abused you in anyway?
-threatened to hurt you or you children?
-prevented you or made it hard for you to start studying or go back to work?
-make you feel afraid
If you have experienced these or similar behaviours then please contact us.

What happens if I'm not sure if I want to recieve support?

Contacting CASWA does not mean you have to follow up and receive support. We understand how difficult it can be to open up and ask for help and recogise you may not be in a place where you are ready for support.

Our domestic abuse specialists provide non-judgemental, person centered support, enabling you to make your own informed choices. Our support is flexible to meet your requirements and can be by telephone, face to face meeting in a safe place (when it is safe to do so following COVID-19), text or email with no pressure for you to have additional contact with us.

Your support is your journey and your choice.

To find out more about our service please check out ourSupport for Women Page

What happens if I refer myself to CASWA?

You can make a referral via our website page or over the phone on 0345 408 0151.

Once we receive a referral we undertake an Initial Assessment, which includes a specialist Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment (Caada DASH) we may require further follow up to manage safety / support your needs. We will inform women of the outcome of their assessment and they will be offered support if we are the appropriate service. You will be assigned a key worker who will get in touch to organise support sessions and provide you with further information about our service.

We treat referrals with the strictest confidentiality and will never disclose your message or details to anyone else.We may be required to share information where there are concerns relating to child protection, the immediate safety of an individual (i.e. a life or death situation), or where we are required to share information by law or to assist in the prevention or detection of a crime.

Our services will support you to know your options and to make your own choices about how you want to live your life..

Should you wish to discuss a possible referral with us, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone: 0345 408 0151 or e-mail: We would be happy to talk through the referral with you and answer any questions you may have.

What happens if I am still living with an abusive partner?

CASWA recognises the huge amount of strength and bravery it takes for a woman to live with an abusive partner particularly when she is trying to protect her children and often the rest of the family.

CASWA will provide specialist support to you and your children regardless of whether you have left your partner or not. We can meet you somewhere safe such as our dedicated support rooms.

We know that due to Covid-19 many women and families have been under lock-down conditions with a perpetrator of domestic abuse and this will have serious impacts on the lives of women and children. We want to reassure survivors and local services and organisations that we are here for you and we will be doing everything we can to support you during this challenging time.

We have lots of useful information on out website -[Essential Information Tab]

(safety message- Before you look for services online, consider whether you think your partner might be tracking how you use the internet. You can read these tips on safer browsing at )

What happens if I want to flee and abusive relationship but I have no where to go?

If you are experiencing abuse from a current or former partner, you have every right to leave and take your children with you if you have any. There are options and support is available. Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a survivor of domestic abuse. The abuse may become more serious, as your partner tries to maintain his control over you. If you are in danger please call 999. For support and advice you can contact CASWA on 0345 408 0151 or email us at
We can provide support and help for you to make the changes which could help protect you. We can signpost you to the appropriate service such as housing, solicitors and Citizen’s Advice Bureau for information around moving home, separation/child contact and benefits. We can also enquire with other women’s aid groups about moving you to a refuge. Have a look at out essential information page for more

Just remember, you are not alone.

What happens if I don't feel safe at home?

You shouldn’t have to be scared or feel unsafe. If you have been threatened or feel unsafe you should call the police on either 101 or 999. This may seem like a big step, but that is what the police are there for – to look after you.

You are not alone. This isn't your fault

Even if you don't plan to leave your partner permanently, it's a good idea to have an escape route and a safety plan worked out in case things get worse. CASWA can help you with creating a safety plan.

You may want to:
•pack a bag with clothing, toiletries and other essentials and keep it hidden somewhere safe in your home or leave it with a friend
•ask a friend to keep an extra set of house and car keys for you
•carry a list of useful contact numbers with you at all times
•put some money aside in case you need to leave in a hurry.
If you decide to leave your home, try to find somewhere to stay before you go. This could be:
•with friends or family (this is perhaps not a very safe option as your partner may well be able to track you down)
•At a refuge
•in temporary accommodation provided by the council

It is important to think through what steps you can take to keep safe. How might you respond in different situations? How will you get help if you need it?
•Try to keep your mobile phone on you at all times. Try to make sure your mobile phone is charged.
•Are family, friends or neighbours able to support you?
•Get familiar with how to delete messages quickly. If the abuser is monitoring your phone – delete your messages or call records afterwards.
•The police are a key service when in immediate danger. Do not be afraid to call 999 in an emergency

We want to reassure you we are here for you. We will do everything we can to support you. For more information check our Essential Information page

What happens if my children are referred by another agency?

CASWA work alongside many organisations to help safeguard the safety and well being of children and young people, any organisation can make a referral to CASWA if they are concerned that a child or young person has been experiencing domestic abuse.

Once a referral has been received by CASWA a member of our children and young people's support team will contact their primary carer (if safe to do so) to arrange a meeting to collect some additional information about their child/ren or the young person and organise a time to meet them. If the child/young person is happy to receive support then we will organise regular support session during school hours or after school, depending on the child/young persons needs and wishes.

It is important to understand that children and young people affected by domestic abuse need support to process their experiences, and to develop an understanding of healthy relationships, being referred to our service is nothing to feel ashamed of, we are here to help. More information about out children and young persons service can be found here.

What happens if my child gets referred but doesn't want support?

Support at CASWA is children and young person-centred and person led, this means that support is about the child/young person and their needs and is delivered at their pace.

It may be that you child/young person is not quite ready to receive support. A member of the children and young people's team could meet with them somewhere safe to give them some more information about the service and explain how we work to help answer any questions or doubts they may have about receiving support.

Our support is very much tailored to meet the needs of you child/young person, It can take months to build a relationship where they feel safe and free to open up about their experiences.

As our service is child-led, your child/young person is able to end support if they are not ready.

We will be there for as long as we are needed. More information about out children and young persons service can be found here.

What happens if I want my children to get support, but I don't want support?

CASWA offers specialist support to children and their mums/female carer. We offer a diverse range of tools/practices to children, young people and their mums to support their recovery from living with domestic abuse, promote positive relationships and build resilience. However this support does not have to take place at the same time.Our service is user led and if you are not ready to be supported by CASWA but would like your children to be supported then you can refer you child/young person to the children's service.

More information about out children and young persons service can be found here.

You can find a referral form here

What happens if I'm a young person, need support but I don't want my parents to know?

The children and young people's support service are able to support young people between the ages of 12 and 16 without their parents agreement. We provide support for young people up until school leaving age.

We support young people through their experiences of domestic abuse in both in their own
intimate relationships and in regards to witnessing domestic abuse within your their home.

You can make a self referral to CASWA (referral forms available here A member of staff from CASWA will be in touch to find out more about your support needs and if we are the appropriate service we will organise a safe place and time to meet to discuss support sessions.

We will…

Listen to you and your story
Believe you
Encourage to believe in yourself
help you to understand what has happened or is happening
Respect your boundaries and privacy
support and reassure you
Give you choices
Help you develop a plan for support which is unique to you
Give you time
Meet with you in a safe place

You are not alone, CASWA are here for you. More information about out children and young persons service can be found here.

What happens if I'm worried about a friend?

It can be difficult to know what to do when someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse.

For a lot of people, the first instinct is to try to rescue someone from the relationship by trying to convince and tell the person that they have to leave. However, it is almost never as easy as “just leaving”. Leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous and risky time for women.

It is very important not to isolate her, judge her and add more pressure to her by telling or asking her to end the relationship. There are other ways in which you can help her. These include:

Providing an ear to listen when she feels ready;
Do not judge or question the choices she has made she may have had no options or choices;
Avoid making her feel like she is a bad mum or that she is not looking after her children;
Believe her and what she is telling you;
Sensitively and respectfully convey that the behaviours she is describing are not normal or healthy behaviours experienced in a loving, caring relationship;
Avoid criticising or insulting her partner/ex-partner. This could make her stop talking to you or feel as though she should be defending him;
Let her know that there is support available for her and her children.
Remember she might not open up to you the first time that you speak to her about abuse. Be patient and give her opportunities to talk without putting pressure on her. It can be a really difficult topic to talk about and it is hard to imagine what she is going through. Have a look on our Essential Information page "I'm Worried about someone I know" for more Information

we hope that this has answered some questions about our service, provided reassurance and addressed any concerns that you may have. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

We can be contact by: