Trust yourself. When it feels wrong, it’s wrong. 

Find support for harassment, bullying or abuse. 
One in four women and one in six men will be affected by domestic abuse during their lifetime (source: living without abuse).
Whilst many people assume it will never happen to them, abusive behaviour in relationships often begins subtly, causing people to doubt their own instincts, perceptions, and feelings.  Physical and sexual violence are not the only forms in which abuse takes place within relationships. An abusive relationship is any relationship in which one person is made to feel afraid.  

This winter you might see our ‘When it feels wrong it’s wrong’ campaign on campus, as we want to call out these behaviours, and remind everyone that support is available at UCLan if you are going through this.   

Spotting the red flags:

Abusive relationships often feature a dynamic where one person attempts to control the other. This could include: 
  • Sudden withdrawal of love and affection; sulking, ghosting, the silent treatment 
  • Belittling and degrading language and insults 
  • Withholding finances 
  • Aggressive outbursts 
  • Threats of violence  
  • Threats of sharing private photos 
  • Sabotaging a person’s relationships or career 
  • Damaging possessions and property 
  • Physical violence 
  • Sexual violence 
  • Checking your messages, emails or social media messages 
  • Following you to check where you are 
Whilst these behaviours can range in seriousness and impact, they are all indicators of an abusive relationship because their goal is to intimidate and control. A relationship does not have to become violent before you ask for help.  

Does it feel wrong? 

Relationships are complicated, even in abusive relationships there will be moments when it feels like ‘everything is OK again’. You may think the relationship is intense and passionate rather than harmful and abusive.  Where strong feelings are involved, it can be difficult to untangle what is really going on but there are differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships that are worth remembering:
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Abusive relationships have a way of making people doubt themselves, but if it feels wrong, it is wrong. Regaining trust in yourself is an important part of recovering and it can begin by asking for help.  

What do I do if I think my relationship is abusive? 

Please know that what is happening is not your fault and that you are not alone.  
At UCLan we have a Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing team that is dedicated to helping you through a range of issues, including unhealthy or abusive relationships.  
  • The first step is to report the situation through Report and Support. This is a report to our wellbeing team, not an ‘official’ complaint to the university, so it won’t trigger any investigations or disciplinary processes by the university, even if another student is involved.  
  • Once you have made a report, you will be contacted by our wellbeing team within two working days, to arrange a meeting with them as soon as possible. The team offer face to face, online and phone support and will be guided by you to establish how you want to access support.   
  • The team will support you, offering guidance and support and making you aware of your options which could include an official report to the University via the Complaints route, a Police report or referrals to external specialist support services as well as our internal support teams.  
  • If you want to report the behaviour via Report and Support, but don’t feel able to give your name, then you can report it anonymously, but this means the wellbeing team won’t be able to contact you or respond to your reported concern. Instead, your report will reviewed and appropriate action under the universities processes and procedures may be considered should there be an identified need to, otherwise the report will be closed with no further action taken.  

If you need urgent support:  

If you think you are in danger, call 999. 
If you need urgent help on campus our security team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be contacted on 01772 892068 (deaf users text 07891 679 537). 
You can also contact the security team via the SafeZone app and share your location or report something is wrong.  You can also use it to set a ‘check in’ timer’ if you feel unsafe – if you don’t ‘check in’ after a designated time, the security team will call you. Find out more about SafeZone on the Student Hub. 

Other sources of support 

We have dedicated webpages on Domestic Abuse, Bullying & Harassment, Sexual Violence, and Sexual Harassment. These pages each detail a range of options and organisations that are available to you. 

You can also reach the Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing team at UCLan on 01772 893020 or 


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