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Domestic violence and abuse

If you are worried about others finding information about domestic violence and abuse support websites you visit, you can find advice about covering your tracks on the Victim Support website

Domestic abuse is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

Abuse can include, but is not limited to:

  • Physical abuse: slapping, pushing, kicking, punching, stabbing attempted murder or murder, and abduction.
  • Sexual abuse: rape and non consensual sexual acts.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse: intimidation, isolation, verbal abuse, humiliation, not allowing friends or relatives to visit, destruction of belongings, threats legal sanctions such as deportations and custody of children.
  • Financial abuse: denial of rights or restrictions of personal freedom such as withholding money or medical help.
  • Digital and online abuse: this can include behaviours such as monitoring of social media profiles or emails, abuse over social media such as Facebook or Twitter, sharing intimate photos or videos without consent, using GPS locators or spyware. 

Domestic abuse also includes violence within the family, inter-generational abuse, ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), and forced marriage.

It can occur within any household, regardless of age, race, sexual or gender identity, economic status, geography or tenure. It impacts upon children, family and the community.

What is controlling behaviour?

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependant by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

What is coercive behaviour?

Coercive behaviour is an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim. 

What should I do if I am a victim of domestic abuse?

If it is an emergency, dial 999 and contact the police.

You can report domestic abuse to us:

We will deal with all cases confidentially, as a matter of urgency and treat your safety as a priority.

If you are under 16, or have a concern about someone under 16, you can inform us using our online form. We will refer concerns to the appropriate authorities such as the police and social services. Further support and advice for young people is also available from: 

 How we can support you

  • We will discuss your concerns, and offer practical support such as your housing options and additional security where possible. 
  • We will work closely with other agencies who can provide all the advice and support you need.
  • We will consider your needs at all times, including making sure that a member of staff of your preferred gender is available and interpreters from outside the community are available to support you if you need them.


We will treat all reports confidentially. Interviews and conversations with you about personal and sensitive matters will be carried out in private. You can meet staff in confidence at our offices or at another safe venue and agree further meeting dates and a safe method of contact.

There are some cases where we have to share information with the police or social services, but we always try to ensure that we ask your permission and let you know how it will be used. However, we reserve the right to make a referral to social services or the police without permission, where the situation and the law justify this.

Other sources of support

National Domestic Violence Helpline website and free phone helpline, 0808 2000 247 run by Refuge and Women's Aid.

Rights of Women provides free, confidential legal advice to women.

Rape Crisis England and Wales provides help for those who have experienced rape, child sexual abuse and/or any kind of sexual violence.

Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre national helpline: 0808 802 9999

Supporting same sex victims of domestic abuse

Galop provides support and advice through the National LGBT+ Advice Line  0800 999 5428 for LGBT+ people who experience domestic abuse and other issues including hate crime.

Supporting male victims of domestic abuse

The Mankind Initiative offers advice and support for male victims of domestic abuse.

MALE (Men’s Advice Line Enquiries) offers a helpline on 0808 801 0327

Culturally aware support for victims of domestic abuse

Karma Nirvana supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. A free helpline is available on 0800 5999 247.

Supporting asylum seekers and refugees who are victims of domestic abuse

The Refugee Council offers advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers.

Supporting Elder Victims of Domestic Abuse

Action on Elder Abuse offer advice and support for older people who experience domestic violence and abuse. A helpline is also available on: 0808 808 8141.

General support

The Samaritans offer a safe space to talk about any issues including by phone on 116 123.

Shelter provide advice about housing and support for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless (phone 0808 800 4444).

Victim Support provides free and confidential support (phone 0808 16 89 111) to help cope with the impact of crime

Report domestic abuse

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