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Domestic violence and abuse

Domestic abuse is a serious and complex issue

Image of domestic abuse

It's never the victim's fault.

Domestic violence is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality (see full definition below). 

Whatever form it takes, domestic violence is rarely a one-off incident. More usually it's a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. 

Experience suggests that friends, families and neighbours are often aware or suspect that something is happening but, for one reason or another, are reluctant to get involved. This is a mistake. Domestic abuse ruins family life and has long term, serious consequences for everyone concerned. You are not alone as there are people who want to help you:

  • recognise that it is happening to you - domestic violence and hate crime can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation
  • accept that you are not to blame - no one deserves to be assaulted, abused or humiliated - there is no excuse
  • plan in advance how you might respond to different scenarios, including crisis situations
  • rehearse your escape plan with your children and teach them how to call 999 in an emergency and give their full name, address and telephone number
  • keep important telephone numbers with you
  • are there any neighbours that you trust? if so, make them aware of what's going on and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack
  • pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children and leave it with a trusted friend or relative
  • if you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and with you at all times and if you don't have a mobile phone, make sure you know where the nearest public phone is

The definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent 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.

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

Domestic abuse is a crime that remains largely hidden, leaving its victims feeling trapped, powerless and isolated - afraid to say anything in case it makes a bad situation worse.  On average a victim will endure 30 to 35 assaults before seeking help.  The level of abuse is likely to increase over time and could even result in murder.

Getting Help

If you or somebody you know needs confidential help or advice, call the Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse Helpline:

0800 408 1552 or visit www.talk2someone.org.uk

Help is also available from the following organisations which can be accessed via the links opposite:

  • National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) - providing legal assistance to obtain civil orders/injunctions
  • GALOP - supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic violence and abuse
  • Mankind - supporting male victims of domestic violence and abuse
  • Karma Nirvana - aiming to stop forced marriage and honour based violence
  • Women's Aid - national charity for Women and children working to end domestic abuse
  • Refuge -  a national domestic violence charity which provides specialist support to women and children who experience domestic violence.  In Warwickshire Refuge provides support in four different locations.
  • Counselling Directory - an organisation which connects you with professional support

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) review into domestic abuse

In September 2013, the Home Secretary commissioned HMIC to conduct an inspection of all police forces and consider:

  • the effectiveness of the police approach to domestic violence and abuse, focusing on the outcomes for victims
  • whether risks to victims of domestic violence and abuse are adequately managed
  • identifying lessons learnt from how the police approach domestic violence and abuse
  • making any necessary recommendations in relation to these findings when considered alongside current practice

The HMIC reports for West Mercia and Warwickshire Police can be found via the attached links.

As a result of the HMIC recommendations, a pdf icon Domestic Abuse Delivery Plan [223kb] has been created.