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Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence and Abuse

Sexual violence and domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone of any gender, sexuality, ethnicity or age. The impacts of living with violence and abuse can be devastating and its effects are far reaching, impacting on individuals, families and communities.

Sexual violence

Sexual violence relates to any unwanted sexual act or activity. It can include, but is not restricted to, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape within a relationship, forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by anyone – this could be a stranger or someone known to and trusted by the person. Around 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault as an adult and 21% of girls, but only 11% of rapes are reported. A third of children who are abused reach adulthood without telling anyone.

Domestic violence and abuse

Domestic violence and abuse occurs when someone in an intimate personal or family relationship uses violence or abuse to control and have power over the other person. It relates to any event, or pattern or events, where someone has behaved in a threatening, violent or abusive way. The abuse could be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or psychological. Between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 women suffer some domestic abuse during their lives, and about 2 in 5 of all victims of domestic violence are men. National estimates are that a woman may experience 30+ incidents before reporting.

For more information about sexual violence and domestic violence and abuse, and the support available, visit Devon County Council website


FearFree is a leading registered charity, supporting people dealing with domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking for over 25 years. Whoever you are, whatever your background, whether you’re seeking help, looking for information or wanting to join our incredible team, please reach out and get in touch.

FearFree offer a number of services across Devon:

  • Helping people identify, come to terms with and overcome their difficulties and challenges.
  • Providing high quality support services.
  • Generating solutions that are appropriate to the needs of the individuals and their communities.

Helpline: 0345 155 1074



Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Service

Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services offers specialist trauma informed support to anyone living in Devon and Torbay aged 13 upwards, irrespective of sex or gender identity, who has experienced any form of sexual violence including rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, ‘honour’ crimes, ritual abuse, sexual intimidation or sexual harassment.

They provide confidential specialist support online, in person or by phone to explore your feelings and experiences. Alongside this we can also give unbiased information on your options and rights.  They understand how difficult it is to talk and reach out for support so will always be led by you and your pace.

It doesn’t matter if the abuse took place yesterday or sixty years ago, you are not alone, they are here to help. They will listen, believe and never judge or blame you.

Helpline: 01392 204174 (Mon, Wed, Fri 6pm-9pm)

Office line: 01392 208756 (Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-4pm)




When this content has been updated

Last updated 2 November 2023