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Am I in an abusive relationship?
Armed forces families who are stationed overseas will have access to welfare providers who are specifically there to support the armed forces community. Relevant information specific to a number of overseas stations is outlined later in this section, and includes the following locations:
- British Forces Cyprus (BFC)
- British Forces Germany (BFG)
- British Forces South Atlantic Islands (Ascension Island)
- British Forces South Atlantic Islands (Falkland Islands)
- British Forces Gibraltar (BF Gibraltar)
- BATUS Alberta, Canada
- Northern Ireland
- United States of America
Anyone posted to a location that is not detailed in this section can make local enquiries regarding welfare provision for armed forces families. A number of additional sources of support are outlined below and may be of help to those individuals, regardless of location, who are seeking welfare support.
Local military support providers
In most overseas locations armed forces families will be able to access support from local military welfare providers or the chaplain.
Local civilian support providers
Depending on location, it may be possible to access civilian support services within the host country. Enquiries should be made to local support providers.
Anyone can speak in confidence to any health professional including their GP, midwife or health visitor. They are trained to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and can also signpost to other services for ongoing practical support.
Local service police
Local service police are trained to manage cases of domestic abuse and will actively signpost to local support services.
UK based contacts
There are a number of UK based charities that support people affected by domestic abuse, including victims, perpetrators and children within the household. Information and guidance from these groups can be accessed from overseas, with the main websites detailed below. SSAFA also have a number of area teams, who can be contacted from overseas, and can also be linked into on return to the UK during visits to relatives or holidays for example. The contact details of the area teams are also outlined below:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships:
Children and young people
SSAFA Area teams
- North: +44(0)1677 457294
- East: +44(0)1760 337261 (extension 6578)
- Central and London: +44(0)1480 52451 (extension 8731)
- South: +44(0)1993 844349
- Scotland, Wales and West Midlands: +44(0)1902 377877
For further information see SSAFA near you
Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare
Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW) provides a confidential service that is fully accessible by the diverse community they support and inclusive of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race & ethnicity, religion & belief, pregnancy & maternity, age disability and marital status. RNRMW work to a single point of contact called the RNRMW portal, which allows easy access to all welfare services for families, service personnel and unit staff and can be accessed from overseas. More information on the service provided by RN RM Welfare can be found here.
Army Welfare Service
Army families and personnel stationed overseas can directly access the Army Welfare Service in the UK on +44(0)1904 662613 for advice and support.
Personal Support and Social Work Service (RAF)
RAF personnel and their families stationed overseas are able to contact the SSAFA out of hours telephone service in the UK on +44 (0)207 463 9358 for advice and support.
Joint Response Team
The Joint Response Team (JRT) offers a 24 Hour service through a central referral team (0049) 05241 84 3039/3040. The JRT comprise of both the service police and social workers. They can offer guidance and support on matters of domestic abuse.
HIVE Information Centres (overseas and Europe)
The HIVE is an information network available to all members of the service community. HIVE Information Centres provide up to date, relevant information and can be contacted in person or by either telephone or email. Find out more on the HIVE overseas and Europe website.
Forcesline is a free, confidential telephone helpline and e-mail service run by SSAFA. It is independent of the military chain of command. Experienced staff provide a supportive listening and signposting service for current and former members of the armed forces and their families. A number of telephone numbers, specific to location, are detailed below. From any other international location call +44(0)207 463 9292. Additional information can be found at Forcesline including the opening times.
British Forces Cyprus (BFC)
SSAFA are contracted to provide the services and strategies required to deal with domestic abuse within BFC and include support for victims, perpetrator programmes as well as safe houses. The main difference between BFC and the UK is the fact that SSAFA Social Work provide the statutory services normally provided by the local authority. SSAFA initiate and manage intervention programmes, training events and general awareness raising activities. More information on the support available in Cyprus from SSAFA is detailed on the SSAFA Cyprus website.
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the SBA Police on 112 or the Cyprus Joint Policing Unit +357 2596 3300 or 94120 3300.
SSAFA social work
For more information on the social work services provided by SSAFA go to their website.
British Forces Cyprus Social Work Service Referrals:
- Akrotiri Mil: 94120 5838 Civ: 00357 2527 5838
- Episkopi Mil: 94120 3609 Civ: 00357 2596 3609
- ESBA Mil: 94120 4453 Civ: 00357 2474 4453
- Outside normal working hours emergency referrals: 00357 97771252
SSAFA personal and family support
SSAFA personal and family support workers provide confidential welfare assistance and advice. For more information go to the SSAFA Cyprus support website.
SSAFA Personal and Family Support Service:
- Akrotiri: Mil: 94120 5838 Civ: 00357 2527 5838
- ESBA: Mil: 94120 4453 Civ: 00357 2474 4453
Episkopi: Mil: 94120 3609 Civ: 00357 2596 3609
- Victim Support: Mil: 94120 2593 Civ: 00357 2596 2593 Mob: 00357 9961 7690
- Solutions: Mil: 94120 3318 Civ: 00357 2596 3318
Forcesline is a free, confidential telephone helpline and email service run by SSAFA. It is independent of the military chain of command. Experienced staff provide a supportive listening and signposting service for current and former members of the armed forces and their families. From Cyprus call 800 91065.
Sovereign Base Areas Administration Emergency Services: 112 (Outside the SBAs you will be connected to the RoC Emergency Services)
Cyprus Joint Police Unit (CJPU) emergency contact: +357 2596 3300 or 94120 3300
The service police contact details are given below:
- Police Station Episkopi (00357) 2596 3300 / 3873
- Police Station Dhekelia (00357) 2474 4721 / 4767
- Police Station Nicosia (UN) (00357) 2261 ext 4666 / 4669
British Forces Germany (BFG)
Core Assets is the contracted provider for British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS) in BFG. BFSWS is the lead agency for safeguarding children in BFG and have the statutory duty to provide services for children and families in need. This is in addition to their responsibility for investigating child protection referrals. BFSWS also provides services for adults with ill health and disabilities and provides services for vulnerable adults as part of a multi agency response. More information on the welfare support available to those affected by domestic abuse in BFG is detailed below:
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the German Civilian Police on 110.
British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS)
BFSWS run a Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme to support perpetrators who acknowledge their abusive behaviour and wish to take action to rectify it. This programme is run parallel to a victim’s programme where support for the victim is provided by a victim safety worker. This programme can be accessed via self-referral to BFSWS or, in the cases of prosecution by the Court Martial Service, via Court Mandate.
BFSWS run a 24 hour Central Referral Team who can be contacted on the following numbers, military: 73 3039/3040 or civilian: 05241 843039/3040.
Army Welfare Service (AWS)
AWS Personal Support teams are staffed by trained military army welfare workers. AWS aim to help married or single personnel, and their families, with any personal or family difficulty by providing a confidential, professional and specialised welfare service. Army welfare workers are trained to support, advise and encourage personnel to manage their problems more effectively. They deal with a variety of issues ranging from relationship problems, including domestic abuse, substance abuse and mental health concerns to problems arising from deployment and disability.
AWS can be contacted on the following numbers, military: 79 4340 or civilian: 05254 982 4340
Home-Start’s simple approach is to offer the support and friendship of a trained volunteer to a parent who is facing difficulties and usually has 1 child under the age of 5; the service is free and confidential. The practical and emotional support provided by the volunteer in the family’s own home enables parents to cope with the pressures they are facing and reduces the potential for family crisis and breakdown. Home-Start helps a wide variety of families who are looking for support for many reasons including isolation, loneliness, postnatal illness, relationship problems, disability and coping with multiple birth or several children. Families are visited by a Home-Start volunteer during the period they feel they need help. Families choose whether or not to accept Home-Start support and a volunteer will only visit on the invitation of the family.
Home-Start can be contacted on the following numbers, military: 79 3866 or civilian: 05251 101 866 or by email: email@example.com
Relate BFG offers free and confidential relationship counselling to those attached to the British military in western Europe. Relate BFG have counselling rooms in many locations in Germany, Holland and Belgium. Relate will work with couples where an allegation of domestic abuse is disclosed and will manage the situation sensitively. Relationship counselling is available for individuals and couples, including same sex couples. Counselling is available either face to face, by email or by Skype.
Relate BFG can be contacted on the following numbers, military: 81 2709 or civilian 05219 2542709 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victim Support’s trained volunteers work with anyone in BFG who has been affected by crime; from victims of burglary and theft to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Victim Support volunteers offer free and confidential information, emotional support and practical help. They can listen to victims talk about the effect that a crime has had on them or assist them with insurance or compensation claim forms. Furthermore, the service can be accessed whether or not the crime has been reported to the police and regardless of when and where it happened. Trained volunteers are also available to support anyone who is called as a witness to court proceedings.
Victim Support can be accessed via the Central Referral Team, military: 73 3039/3040 or civilain: 05241 843039/3040 or by email Crt.email@example.com.
In addition to the ‘usual’ German services (police, health professionals, refuge accommodation) German nationals are able to access Weisse Ring (White Ring) which is the German equivalent of Victim Support and provides support to victims of crime; they also support the victims’ families. This service is run by volunteers and is there to support and advise victims, both legally and psychologically, on how best to deal with their situation. When a German national, for example a wife or girlfriend of a serving member of the armed forces, is a victim of domestic abuse they will be signposted to both Weisse Ring and Victim Support.
Forcesline is a free, confidential telephone helpline and email service run by SSAFA. It is independent of the military chain of command. Experienced staff provide a supportive listening and signposting service for current and former members of the armed forces and their families. From Germany call 0800 1827 395.
Royal Military Police (RMP)
RMP are the policing agency for serving personnel, their family members and the civilian component within BFG. Anyone who is a victim or witness to a crime within the BFG community should inform the RMP. They run a 24 hour emergency contact number 05254 9822222. The RMP can also be accessed at local service police stations across BFG.
German emergency services
The Germany emergency services numbers are detailed below (24 hours):
- Police 110
- Ambulance 112
- Fire Brigade 112
British Forces South Atlantic Islands (Ascension Island)
At Ascension Island the main support for domestic abuse comes from the Ascension Island Government (AIG) social worker based at Two Boats Village. When required, the social worker may refer individuals on to support at the Mount Pleasant Complex, wider SSAFA resources and possibly Port Stanley. Standby support is available, as required, and the welfare support team are also available for unaccompanied personnel should there be problems at home. Whilst the AIG social worker does not run open clinics, she is available on an ‘as required’ basis, as is the Padre; both will offer focussed support.
British Forces South Atlantic Islands (Falkland Islands)
SSAFA provide social work support to the armed forces community in the Falkland Islands, and work with the Falkland Islands Government Social Services Department. Their contact details are given below:
In an emergency people seeking help should always call Joint Services Police and Security Unit (JSPSU) on 76666/76484 or Royal Falkland Island Police (RFIP) on 28100. In emergency situations at Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC) JSPSU should be the first contact point due to the location and the ability to respond immediately.
- Falkland Islands Social Services: Team Manager 27296
- Royal Falkland Islands Police (RFIP): 28100
- Falkland Islands Community Psychiatric Nurse: 28082
- Falkland Islands Health Visitor: 28080
Mount Pleasant Complex: contacts are given below (7 before extension if non-military):
- SSAFA Social Worker: 3331 (Mil XT), 73331 (Civ), 54688 (Mobile)
- Joint Services Police and Security Unit (JSPSU): 6666/6484 (Mil XT), 76666/76484 (Civ)
- Padre: 3209 (Duty mobile 53920)
- Officer Commanding Personnel Management Squadron: 6426
- Officer Commanding Personnel Services Flight: 6641
- Falkland Island Support Unit: 6609
- Chief clerk:6790
- School (headteacher and deputy): 3328
- Families officer: 3318
- Senior Medical Officer: 6334
Forcesline is a free, confidential telephone helpline and e-mail service run by SSAFA. It is independent of the military chain of command. Experienced staff provide a supportive listening and signposting service for current and former members of the armed forces and their families. From the Falkland Islands call # 6111.
Service police can be contacted at Mount Pleasant Police Station on (00500) 7 6484.
British Forces Gibraltar (BF Gibraltar)
Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar run an active Domestic Abuse Forum that encourages joint working and information sharing. The forum includes all main practitioners and actively raises awareness of domestic abuse within the armed forces community. Primary contacts are detailed below:
In an emergency on the MOD estate (including within SFA) people seeking help should always call the Gibraltar Defence Police Operations Room on 200 55026 or 200 55121. For emergency policing assistance off the MOD estate, including in private accommodation, call the Royal Gibraltar Police on 199.
Joint Social Work Service (JSWS)
The JSWS Team is comprised of a SSAFA Senior Social Work Practitioner and a Senior Social Work Practitioner from Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare. Their office number is 00350 2005 5481.
Women in Need Gibraltar
Women in Need Gibraltar can be contacted on 00350 2005 8018.
Joint Provost and Security Unit
For non-emergency policing assistance, including within SFA, military personnel and their families should call the Joint Provost and Security Unit during normal working hours on 200 55815 or 200 5574.
Gibraltar Defence Police and Joint Service Police
The service police can be contacted at the Joint Police Station on 00350 2005 5760. In an emergency call the Gibraltar Defence Police on 00350 2005 5026 or 00350 2005 5121.
• Royal Gibraltar Police Emergency Services: 119
BATUS Alberta, Canada
BATUS has support through the RMP and the Canadian Forces Military Police. Those not subject to service law in Canada are entitled to support commensurate with any other legal Canadian resident. Support services are provided by a mix of UK, international and local providers and vary depending on individual circumstances.
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the Canadian civilian police on 911, although the first responder will be the Canadian Force Military Police who are located at BATUS.
BFSWS Central Referral
BFSWS Central Referral can be contacted on 0049 800 724 3176 (NB They can give advice but do not hold jurisdiction in Alberta Canada).
Royal Military Police/Canadian Forces Military Police (RMP/CFMP):
- Emergency 403 544 4911
- General enquiries: 403 544 4311
- Station Direct: 403 544 4110
Canadian Civilian Police Emergency Services:
For Canadian Civilian Police Emergency Services dial 911.
South Alberta Child and Family Services main line:
To contact South Alberta Child and Family Services main line dial 403 529 3607.
To contact Army Welfare Service (AWS) dial +44 1904 882053 Mil 94777 3053.
Family Violence Information Line:
Family Violence Information Line can be contacted on (no area code required) 310-1818 (available 24hrs 7 days a week. Help is available in over 170 languages).
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters can be contacted on 1 866 331 3933 www.acws.ca
Safe Families Intervention Team (SFIT):
The Safe Families Intervention Team can be contacted on 403 529 8463.
Medicine Hat Family Service:
Medicine Hat Family Service can be contacted on 403 504 8026 relationship/marriage counselling.
Unit Welfare Officer (UWO):
The UWO can be contacted on 403 544 4772.
Padre Base Chaplain:
The Chaplain can be contacted on 403 502 4046.
Currently Brunei has a number of support services as detailed below:
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the RMP.
Royal Military Police (RMP) Emergency:
- Mil 9240 3767
- Civ 00673 3224101
- Mobile 00673 8716245
SSAFA Social Work Service:
- Mil 9240 3371
- Civ 00673 3220172
- Mobile 00673 7177995
Army Welfare Service (AWS):
- Mil 9240 3300
- Civ 00673 3224101 ext 3300
- Mobile 00673 7193020
From Brunei phone +44 207 463 9292 and the support staff will phone back.
Unit Welfare Officer (UWO):
- SSO 9240 3202 Civ 00673 3224101 Ext 3202 Mobile 00673 8778509
- UWO 9240 3216 Civ 00673 3224101 Ext 3216 Mobile 006738772305
BATUK relies on the AWS duty officer or BFSWS Central Referral for support in this area. Key contact details are given below.
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the BATUK RMP.
Royal Military Police (RMP):
To contact the RMP call +254 90) 713 371103
BFSWS Central Referral (24 hrs):
BFSWS Central Referral can be contacted on Tel: +49 0800 724 3176
Army Welfare Service (AWS) Intake and Assessment Team:
AWS can be contacted on Mil 94777 3053 Civ +44 1904 882053
SSAFA Forces Line:
(from Kenya) + 44(0) 2074639293
Unit Welfare Officer (UWO):
Contact UWOs on +254(0)700 638675
Support is provided through the Brunei SSAFA Social Work Service, who will allocate appropriate. The support services available in Nepal are detailed below.
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the guardroom.
Guardroom. The guardroom contact details are outlined below:
- Civ: 01423500/014235301
- Mil: 92406 300/92406 301
- Civ: 061567300 * Mil: 92407 300
Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB) 24 hours Ops Room.
The SPCB contact details are outlined below:
- Mil: 93835 5170 or 5180
- Civ: 02392 2851 or 285180
SSAFA Brunei Social Work Service.
Contact details for the SSAFA Brunei and Social Work Service are detailed below:
- Mil: 9240 3371
- Civ: 00673 3220172
- Mobile: 00673 7177995
AWS Intake and Assessment Team:
The contact details for the AWS Intake and Assessment Team are detailed below:
- Mil 94777 2613
- Civ: 01904 662613
Call +44 207 463 9292 and the support staff will phone back.
Brigade and Unit Welfare Officer.
The Brigade Unit Welfare Officer can be contacted on the numbers below:
- Civ: 014235229
- Mil: 92406 229
The Padre can be contacted on their mobile: 9849505708
Contact details for the Medical Centre are detailed below:
- Civ: 014235222
- Mil: 92406 222
- Civ: 061 567289
- Mil: 92407 289
Within Northern Ireland the welfare support available to the armed forces community is slightly different to the UK mainland. These differences are outlined below, along with additional security considerations and some subtle legal differences.
Armed forces personnel who live and work in Northern Ireland must be security aware. Personal details such as occupation and address need to be closely managed, which can impact on both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse if they wish to access local civilian support programmes.
It is advised that victims of domestic abuse seek guidance from Army Welfare Service (AWS) if they wish to access face to face help and support from civilian support services. The contact details for AWS are detailed below, and they will be able confirm if a support organisation is ‘safe’.
Male perpetrators are advised to avoid civilian domestic abuse perpetrator programmes for security reasons. More information is available on the Respect phoneline website. This is a national support programme for perpetrators.
Because some laws may be passed locally by the Northern Ireland Assembly before they are implemented, domestic abuse legislation can vary from the UK mainland. Domestic Violence Protection Orders and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, sometimes referred to as ‘Clare’s Law’, have not yet been implemented in Northern Ireland. In addition, stalking is not classified as an offence. Contact the Law Society for further legal advice on 02890 231614.
Armed forces welfare providers
Tri-service welfare provision for all armed forces personnel and their families in Northern Ireland is provided initially by the Army Welfare Service. The intake and assessment team (IAT) can be contacted on 01904 882053 or 01904 882054, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AWS work to a specific code of confidentiality, in accordance with legal requirements, which would be explained during any initial contact. When required, AWS will liaise with other single service welfare providers.
Civilian support services
Helpline numbers and support services within Northern Ireland can vary from mainland UK. Contact details for the main support services are detailed below:
- Police: anyone who feels in immediate danger should dial 999, or otherwise 101 in a non-emergency; text phone users 18000
- Women’s Aid (female victims): Women’s Aid is the lead voluntary organisation in Northern Ireland addressing domestic and sexual violence and providing services for women and children. In Northern Ireland, Women’s Aid also run a 24 hour domestic and sexual violence helpline. The helpline is completely confidential offering a freephone support, advice and signposting service for all women and men who have been affected by domestic or sexual violence. The telephone number is 0808 802 1414 and is free to call from all landlines and mobile phones
- Men’s Advisory Project (MAP) (male victims): MAP run a telephone helpline, 02890 241929 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm)
- The Rainbow Project (LGBT victims): the Rainbow Project works to promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender people and their families in Northern Ireland
- Victim Support: offers a free and confidential service supporting people affected by crime, including victims of domestic abuse and their children. They can be contacted via email at email@example.com, or by telephone on 08 08 16 89 111
- Victim Support Belfast Office can be contacted on tel 02890 243133
United States of America (USA)
The USA is different from the UK due to the absence of a UK Military Police provision or dedicated welfare/community support; however, this does not detract from the MOD’s commitment to addressing domestic abuse. The Embassy does not have any personnel professionally qualified to deal with domestic abuse but can assist with signposting individuals to official support groups.
In an emergency people seeking help should always call the police on 911.
Key Contacts and Services USA:
- Emergency Services in USA 911
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
Key Contacts and Services UK:
- SSAFA UK 0845 241 7141
- 24hr National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
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