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Where to go if you need help in the UK
Advice (c) R.T.Allen
  Emergency services
  Council (local government)
  Citizens advice
  Legal advice
  International students
  Medical/sexual issues


This section lists some of the places where you can go if you need help while you are in the UK.

If you have a problem, try not to keep it to yourself. Talk about it with a friend that you trust, or ask advice from a doctor, teacher, student welfare officer, adviser, counsellor or religious officer. If you don't want anybody else to be told you can usually ask the person to keep what you say confidential.

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Police car

Fire engine



To call the police in an emergency, dial 999 (or 112) free from any telephone; ask for the Police service.

If it is not an emergency, contact your local police station.
You can find police stations using UpMyStreet: Select Local area, enter a postcode or town name, select Policing & crime and choose Nearest police station.

In London the service is provided by the Metropolitan Police: (except in the City, where it is provided by the City of London Police: There is an alphabetical list of the Metropolitan Police's stations at: You can also contact the Metropolitan Police in a non-emergency situation using the number 0300 123 1212

For crimes committed while you are travelling on a train (including London Underground), contact the British Transport Police: (telephone 0800 405040).

For information about how to reduce the chance of having your things stolen, and about what to do after a theft, see: Personal/Safety.

Fire Brigade

If there is a fire, dial 999 (or 112) free from any telephone; ask for the Fire service.
For information about fire safety, see:


To be taken to hospital in an emergency, dial 999 (or 112) free from any telephone; ask for the Ambulance service. If it is not an emergency, go to the hospital by taxi.

Sea Rescue
If someone is in trouble in the sea, dial 999 (or 112) free from any telephone and ask for the Coast Guard service.

Gas emergencies
If you smell gas, call Transco's 24-hour gas emergency service: 0800 111999. Don't smoke, strike matches or turn electrical switches off or on.

Water emergencies
In case of a problem with flooding, burst water pipes or contaminated (dirty/dangerous) water supplies, contact your local water company or your council.

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If you are feeling desperate or are thinking of killing yourself for any reason, you can telephone an organisation called the Samaritans for friendly support. In some cases, they may be able to provide someone who speaks your native language. Visit their website at:

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If you have a local problem, you may want to contact your local council for advice about what you should do about it.
You can find police stations using UpMyStreet: Select Local area, enter a postcode or town name, and select My council & reps.

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Your local Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, confidential, independent advice on issues such as immigration, personal problems, consumer rights, legal problems, accommodation or employment issues.
The website of Citizens Advice is:
Online information is provided at:
To find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau go to
Telephone to check opening times before visiting.

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Solicitors can help you if you need legal advice. You will usually be charged for their services, but if you have a low income you may qualify for some financial help (known as legal aid). For details see the website of the Legal Services Commission:

To find a particular type of legal adviser in your area, use the search tool on the page:

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If you are an international student currently studying in the UK, there may be an International Students Officer or Welfare Officer in your school, college or university. They may be able to give you some advice on issues such as UK immigration, financial difficulty or your personal welfare.

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs)
provides advice to international students at universities or colleges in the UK. They have a telephone helpline (but note that this line is often busy, so try to contact the international student adviser or welfare officer in the first instance). UKCISA produce a range of helpful guidance notes which you can access from the page:
[before August 2007 UKCISA was known as UKCOSA]

There is often useful information on how to obtain help on the website of your school or of a university near to where you are studying: it may contain useful general advice or give information about local or national help services.

If you have a serious problem with a privately owned school which cannot be solved by talking directly to the officials at the school, you may wish to inform the school's accreditation agency.
For information about fake schools or schools which behave in illegal ways see: Course/Bogus-Schools

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If you are living abroad in the UK and need some help from your own country's government, contact its embassy in London. To find the contact details, select Foreign Embassies in the UK from the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Alternatively, go to the Links page of this website and select your country - this should contain a link to the websites of your embassy.

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If you are an asylum seeker or refugee in the UK, you can find useful information on the website of the Refugee Council: There are free booklets on this site which are available in several languages (but note that the rules do change sometimes and that the non-English versions may not be as up-to-date as the English versions).

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The following organisations will provide confidential support or advice for Muslims in the UK.

Muslim Youth:
Muslim Youth Helpline:
Muslim Women's Helpline:

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If you are a student you may find it useful to ask your teacher or head teacher for advice on a problem. If necessary the school may arrange for you to meet a specialist adviser.

If someone at school is bullying you, or if you have seen someone else being bullied, you can find advice on the Bullying Online website:

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Kalayaan provide advice and support services in the UK for migrant domestic workers:

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Information about organisations which can provide information or support on medical or sexual issues is provided on the following pages:

General health issues: Personal/Health
Sexual issues (for heterosexual men): Personal/Relationships/Men
Sexual issues (for heterosexual women): Personal/Relationships/Women
Sexual issues (for gay men): Personal/Relationships/Gay
Sexual issues (for lesbian women): Personal/Relationships/Lesbian

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Health care: Personal/Health
Religions in the UK: Personal/Religion
Advice about relationships/sex: Personal/Relationships

Home page: Home

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