Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

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, age or sexuality.

Many people think that domestic abuse is about intimate partners, but it is clear that other family members are included and that much safeguarding work that occurs at home, is in fact concerned with domestic abuse.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to; Psychological/Emotional, Physical, SexualFinancial.

Spotting the Signs of Domestic Abuse

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of yourself as a victim of abuse. This helpful diagram demonstrates how perpetrators use power and control over their victims (this model can be applied to both males and females).

Power and Control Model

What is Coercive Control?

Domestic abuse is not always physical abuse. Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour that aims to threaten, humiliate, intimidate, punish or frighten their victim. They may use other controlling behaviours to make a person dependent by isolating them from their family or support, depriving them of independence and going about their everyday lives.

Coercive control is a recognised criminal offence. It creates a sense of fear that impacts on all elements of a victim’s life.

Spotting the Signs of Coercive Control

  • Isolating you from friends and family
  • Making you feel that people do not care about you and that you can only depend on them
  • Depriving you of basic needs, such as food
  • Monitoring your time
  • Monitoring you via online tools / cameras
  • Taking control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear and when you can sleep
  • Depriving you access to support services, such as medical services
  • Repeatedly putting you down, such as saying you’re worthless
  • Humiliating, degrading or dehumanising you
  • Controlling your finances
  • Making threats or intimidating you

What is Honour Based Abuse?

Honour based abuse is a crime or incident which has been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.

Honour based abuse can include:

  • Domestic abuse perpetrated by family members including coercion, psychological abuse and threatening behaviour
  • Forced marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Sexual abuse/harassment
  • Preventing a person’s freedom or restricting their contact with others / isolating from others

What is Stalking?

Stalking is classed as any behaviour from another person which is persistent, unwanted and harassing; anything that causes you any kind of fear or anxiety. Some examples can include; unwanted or malicious communications, unwanted attention, watching or following someone or loitering where the person frequents, monitoring usage of someone’s internet, email or other electronic communications, damaging a person’s property. 

In the majority of stalking cases the victim will know the stalker (such as a partner or ex-partner for example), however there have been cases where the victim does not know the offender.

In some cases stalking can escalate to physical abuse. If you feel that you are a victim of stalking or harassment you should contact the Police.

What is Clare’s Law?

Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (also known as Clare’s Law)

Under the scheme an individual can ask Police to check whether a new or existing partner has a violent or abusive past. This is the ‘right to ask’. If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic abuse from a partner, the Police will consider disclosing the information if it is legal, proportionate and necessary to do so. ‘Right to know’ enables an agency to apply for a disclosure if the agency believes that an individual is at risk of domestic violence from their partner. The Police can release information if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so.

How to Make a Clare’s Law Request (Cleveland Police)

Clare’s Law Guidance

Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders (DVPOs)

A power which puts in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident and means a perpetrator can be banned with immediate effect from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days, allowing the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need.


Call 999 if it’s an emergency or contact the Police on 101 if it’s not an emergency.

Call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence free phone helpline: 0808 2000 247

If the victim has care and support needs your Local Authority may also be able to help – Report Abuse

British Sign Language Video: Domestic abuse – how to get help – YouTube

Find Support in Your Area

Links to Other Organisations