About domestic abuse

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Domestic abuse is any incident 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 their gender or sexuality.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can access help and support  from services in our borough.

In an emergency always call 999. The police have officers specially trained to offer you support and advice, and your safety will be their priority.

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Types of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can take many forms. It isn’t just physical – domestic abuse can also be emotional, sexual, financial and psychological abuse:

  • Physical abuse means the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person such as hitting, strangling, kicking, etc
  • Emotional and psychological abuse means acts such as blackmail, mental torture and threats to disown, hurt or kill you or your children. This can also involve financial abuse
  • Coercive and controlling behaviours include acts such as assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. Isolating them from their family and friends, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, regulating their everyday behaviour
  • Sexual abuse – being married or in a relationship does not mean that your husband/partner has the right to have sex with you against your will. Forced sex or forced sexual acts are acts of violence and aggression
  • Harassment and stalking behaviours mean repeated and unwanted contact which causes the victim alarm or distress
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM), the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. This is also child abuse
  • Honour based violence (HBV) is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour
  • Forced marriage (FM) is where one or both people do not (or in cases of some people with learning disabilities or reduced capacity, cannot) consent to the marriage as they are pressurised, or abused to do so

View how to protect children and adults from abuse in the UK and abroad.

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Domestic abuse and children

Domestic abuse and violence harm children too and it is likely that your child is aware of what is happening. Children who witness abuse respond in different ways and they may become anxious, withdrawn, depressed or angry. They may try to interpret what is happening and worry about their roles in causing violence to happen. It is important to explain to them that it is not their fault and they must not intervene, and to teach them how to get help or call 999.

If you are concerned about a child suffering domestic abuse, visit our domestic violence and children page for advice and guidance.

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