Getting care: physical, sexual and mental health

Domestic abuse can have significant effects on your health. In France, you can receive health care no matter what your financial situation is, and regardless of your residency rights.

Verified by La Maison des Femmes on 03/03/2022

Physical and sexual health

Regardless of the nature of the abuse you experience, it can have a considerable impact on your health in the long term. Even if it’s last on your priorities, please try to remember to prioritise your health. In France, you can receive health care even if you do not have residency rights or access to money.

  • If you need urgent medical attention, in the event of an injury or sexual assault, for example, please call the emergency services.

    If your safety is in danger, you can ask the police to intervene. 

    • Call 17, a free telephone number available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you do not speak French, an interpreter will be assigned to your call. 
    • You can also send an SMS in French to 114.

    In the event of a serious injury, call the emergency medical services. They will send a team trained in first aid to help you. 

    • Call 112, a free telephone number available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you do not speak French, an interpreter will be assigned to your call. 

    In the event of a life-threatening emergency, you will receive medical treatment even if: 

    • you do not have residency rights 

    you are not registered in the state health insurance system called “Protection universelle maladie (PUMA)”, sometimes also known as “sécurité sociale”.

  • If you are injured and wish to go straight to hospital, you can consult this directory.

    Cost:

    • You do not need to have health insurance or have valid residency rights to receive treatment in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
    • To be reimbursed for other medical expenses, you must have the state health insurance called “Protection universelle maladie (PUMA)”, sometimes also known as “sécurité sociale”. Or have “l’Aide médicale d’Etat (AME)”, the state health insurance if you do not have French residency rights. 
    • If you do not have health insurance, the hospital will inform you of the medical expenses that you will have to pay. They may ask you to pay in advance.
  • Several directories allow you to search for a doctor near you, be it a general practitioner or a specialist. 

    • Doctolib lists a large number of doctors and allows you to search by language spoken.
    • Ameli is the official website of the “sécurité sociale”. This directory lists all doctors in France by specialisation and location. 
    • You can also go to your local medical centre, called the “Centre Municipal de Santé”.

    Cost:

    Even if you are covered by the “sécurité sociale”, not all doctors have the same rates. 

    • Doctors who are "Conventionné secteur 1" apply rates set by the “sécurité sociale”. They are generally the cheapest. 
    • Doctors “Conventionné secteur 2” choose their own rates. The “sécurité sociale” reimbursement amount will be lower, so you will have to pay more. 
    • Doctors who are "hors convention" are not linked to “sécurité sociale”. The “sécurité sociale” reimbursement amount will be very low, so you will have to pay more.
  • If you have experienced sexual assault, please do not feel ashamed. You are not responsible for what you have experienced in any way.

    It is strongly recommended that you follow the advice below to protect your health:

    • Do not stay alone. Go to a safe place and contact a person you trust who can support you.
    • Do not wash yourself. 

    See a doctor or go to a hospital as soon as possible to be examined and treated. It is recommended that you go to a specialist medical service called a "unité médico-judiciaire (UMJ)" near you. Their teams are specially trained to gather evidence of sexual assault. Some “UMJ” only see patients by appointment: call them before visiting.

    The doctor will be able to provide you with emergency care: 

    • the morning after pill if there is a risk of unwanted pregnancy, that can be taken up to five days after the assault
    • a preventive tritherapy if there is a risk of HIV infection, to start within 48 hours of the assault
    • blood tests to look for infection.

    It is also recommended to file a complaint to report the violence to the French justice system. 

    When submitting a complaint, the police officer who attends to you may make an appointment for you at the “UMJ”.

  • If a healthcare professional’s behaviour triggers fear, shame or guilt in you, it probably means that their expertise on gendered violence is limited and this may put you at risk. 

    If this is the case, don't hesitate to consult a different healthcare professional. You can change doctors whenever you want without having to justify yourself.

Mental health

It can take time to recover from domestic abuse. It can have significant social, physical and psychological effects, including post-traumatic stress that requires the care of specialist professionals. Even if it’s last on your priorities, please try to remember to prioritise your mental health. If possible, talk to a professional about what you have experienced. They can help you verbalise your feelings and support you on your journey to recovery.

  • If you are suffering and have suicidal thoughts, please remember that you are not alone. Professionals can be reached at any time to help you get through this.

    • You can call 3114, a national and confidential freephone number, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service is available only in French.
    • You can call the SOS Helpline on 01 46 21 46 46 between 3 pm and 11 pm. This service is available only in English.
  • A psychiatrist is a doctor specialised in psychiatry. They may prescribe medication if they think it is necessary. 

    Psychiatric consultations are sometimes reimbursed by the “sécurité sociale”.

    Several directories allow you to search for a psychiatrist near you:

    • Doctolib gives access to a large number of doctors and allows you to search those that speak your language.
    • Ameli is the official website of the “sécurité sociale”. This directory lists all French doctors by specialisation and location.
  • A psychologist is a professional with a university degree in psychology. They have no medical training. They can support you with psychotherapy.

    Reimbursement:

    • Psychotherapy sessions are not currently reimbursed by the “sécurité sociale”, but this may change during the course of 2022. 
    • Some private health insurance funds or “mutuelles” reimburse psychotherapy costs. Do not hesitate to contact your “mutuelle” to find out if these costs are covered and under what conditions.

    Several directories allow you to search for a psychologist near you. Doctolib allows you search professionals that speak your language.

  • If the behaviour of a psychiatrist or psychologist triggers fear, shame or guilt in you, it probably means that their expertise in gendered violence is limited and this may put you at risk. 

    If this is the case, don't hesitate to consult a different one. You can change your psychiatrist or psychologist whenever you want without having to justify yourself.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • Comede” is an organisation that helps immigrants and refugees to have access to health care.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can assist you to access healthcare and help you with your paperwork, in particular via their telephone service.
    • Languages available: interpretation possible in all languages.
    • Contact: by phone.
  • This telephone counselling service is intended for people facing all types of violence and those who support them.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • On the telephone, a trained counsellor will listen to you and support you. They can then direct you to relevant services near you.
    • Available languages: French. Sometimes the following languages are available: English, Arabic, Spanish, Turkish, Mandarin, Chinese, Kurdish, Azeri, Polish, Hebrew, Farsi, Soninké, Creole, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi and Swahili. At present, these languages are unfortunately available at irregular and unscheduled times.
    • Contact: call 3919, available 24/7. The call will not appear on your telephone bill.
    • For people who are deaf, have difficulties hearing, people with aphasia or who have language impairments, you can access a service adapted for your needs by clicking on the telephone icon at the bottom right of the website www.solidaritefemmes.org.
  • Associations” are organisations that offer a range of services.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • The services offered vary considerably from one “association” to another. They can give you advice and sometimes they can assist you with procedures and paperwork.
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • You will find a list of “associations” specialising in helping victims of violence near you in this directory by selecting your French department.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

You may also be interested

Calling emergency services: police, ambulance

In an emergency, call 17 for the police or 112 for emergency medical services. Their role is to…

Registering with the state health insurance system or “sécurité sociale

If you have stable employment or residence in France, you are entitled to cover for your health…

Understanding the impact of domestic abuse on you and your children

Domestic abuse can have serious social, physical and psychological effects. These effects impact the…

Getting treatment after suffering female genital mutilation

If you have been subjected to female genital mutilation, there are organisations and professionals…

For police intervention:

Scroll to top