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Domestic abuse

If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from domestic abuse, we are here to help.

Abuse isn’t always physical, there are many signs of domestic abuse.

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

Victims of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any time and our specialist investigation team are on hand to provide support and advice to those who need it.

There is no typical victim of domestic abuse. The fact is, it can happen to anyone. We investigate reports equally, regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, class or gender.

We ask victims or anyone with concerns for someone in an abusive relationship to contact us. Your information could help save a life.

Domestic abusers

A woman or man can commit domestic abuse. They usually appear to be good, loving partners, fathers or mothers, have good jobs and are well liked. But behind closed doors, they can be inflicting violence.

Abusers can often try to rationalise or excuse their behaviour, or blame their victim. Victims should remember that it isn’t their fault and there is never an excuse for domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse can often be brought on by the use of alcohol or drugs and help is available for abusers to manage these issues.

Online domestic abuse

Social media and other online platforms are being used more and more in domestic abuse cases.

It may involve an abuser monitoring your social media profile or emails, being abusive over social media, sharing intimate photos or videos of you without your consent or using GPS locators to track where you are. This is not acceptable and reports of this nature will be taken seriously.

For more information on how to keep yourself self online, visit our internet safety area. 

Common myths about domestic abuse or violence

There are many stereotypes when it comes to domestic abuse but actually, anyone can be a victim, anytime and anywhere. We have covered eight of the most common myths that are assumed about domestic abuse;

  • Only married women experience domestic abuse - false
    Anyone can suffer from domestic abuse or abuse. The majority of domestic abuse victims are women, but men also suffer from abuse by their partners. The myth that domestic abuse is a problem only experienced by married women may make it more difficult for men to admit that they are suffering from domestic abuse. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to admit you are suffering from violence at the hands of your partner.

    Equally, you do not have to be married to suffer from domestic abuse, it can occur in any relationship. Nor does marriage make domestic abuse or abuse acceptable, violence by one person against another constitutes a criminal act, regardless of marital status or gender. 

  • Domestic abuse only occurs between a couple - false
    Domestic abuse can occur between any family members, including mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, in–laws and step family in any combination.

  • Domestic abuse is uncommon - false
    Research by the British Crime Survey shows that one in four women is a victim of domestic abuse at least once in her lifetime. The police receive a call about domestic abuse every minute in the UK.

  • It was only a momentary loss of temper - false
    Research suggests that victims of domestic abuse are victimised over and over again by the same person. Domestic abuse is an ongoing experience of abuse, and one you do not have to suffer.

  • Hitting your partner is the only form of domestic abuse - false
    Domestic abuse encompasses physical, psychological, sexual, emotional and financial abuse.

  • Only poor and ethnic minority groups experience domestic abuse - false
    Domestic abuse does not discriminate. People of all classes, genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions can experience domestic abuse.

  • Women always stay in violent relationships - false
    Many women and men who leave violent or abusive relationships go on to build a life free of violence and abuse. Almost all victims of domestic abuse will leave at least once.

    Remember that you have a right to a life free from fear, violence and abuse. Help and support is available to you.

  • People don’t get seriously hurt by domestic abuse - false
    Statistics show that the leading cause of injury for women aged 15 to 44 is domestic abuse. Almost half of all murders committed in the UK are domestic linked, with one woman murdered by a partner or ex–partner every three days.

    Figures don’t reflect the amount of mental and emotional trauma experienced by victims of domestic abuse, including children who witness domestic abuse or abuse in the home.

Domestic abuse support 

We work closely with local charities, schools, social care and housing to tackle domestic abuse. If you would like to speak to someone about domestic abuse, you may find these contacts useful;

Legal assistance for domestic abuse victims

We have partnered with the Domestic Abuse Alliance (DA Alliance), a specialist legal assistance and protection service, to help support and safeguard victims.

A free instant referral app, named WeProtect, has been rolled out to all frontline officers in order to help domestic abuse victims gain quick and vital legal support.

Our officers attending domestic abuse victims will make instant referrals to the DA Alliance on behalf of consenting victims.

Once a referral has been made, a DA Alliance legal advisor will contact the individual to offer specialist legal assistance.

Depending on the level of continued risk faced, the advisor will prioritise the situation and facilitate the implementation of civil injunctions, such as non-molestation orders, to provide extra safeguarding measures. This service will run alongside the police investigation into any criminal activity that has taken place.

Domestic abuse action plan

Read our domestic abuse action plan in full. 

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