Domestic abuse

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Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, wealth, disability, or lifestyle. 

It’s estimated that one in four women and one in six men will suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime. On average, two women a week are murdered by their partner or ex-partner. Domestic abuse is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless. 

If you're experiencing domestic abuse or are concerned about someone else, please contact us and we'll be able to offer support. Concerns about domestic abuse can be reported to us by emailing or calling 0300 555 0500. (Text relay: 18001 0300 555 0500). If you're in immediate danger, please call 999.  

Please see the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below for more information.

Read our Domestic Abuse Policy[pdf].

What is domestic abuse?

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

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What counts as domestic abuse?

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Domestic abuse can be: 

  • Physical 
    • When someone uses physical force against another person which causes, or could cause physical harm; 
    • Examples include slapping, hitting, pushing, pinching, biting, choking, burning, using a weapon, and throwing things. 
  • Sexual 
    • Any situation where an individual is forced or threatened to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity; 
    • Examples include inappropriate and unwanted touching, unwanted sexual demands, hurting them during sex, pressurising them to have sex or unsafe sex. 
  • Emotional and psychological 
    • This can be verbal or nonverbal, affect the confidence and independence of the individual. Intending to make them more compliant and limiting their ability to leave; 
    • Examples include belittling, degrading, sulking, blaming them for abuse and arguments. Isolating them from friends and family, stopping them going out, accusing them of flirting or having affairs. Telling them what to wear and making them think they’re crazy by denying the abuse. 
  • Financial 
    • Limiting an individual’s ability to access money or an income to deprive them of independence or from being able to access help; 
    • Examples include controlling the finances, withholding money for basic necessities, preventing them working, deliberately running up debts or forcing them to work against their will. 
  • Stalking and harassment 
    • This is a very common form of domestic abuse which includes obsessive and repetitive behaviour that causes the individual distress; 
    • Examples include frequently contacting them, driving past their home unnecessarily, gathering information on them through contacting people who know them or using public records, sending unwanted or malicious gifts. 
  • 'Honour' based violence 
    • This is perpetrated in the name of so called ‘honour’ and involves an individual being punished for bringing shame on the family, as a result of not abiding by the honour code; 
    • Examples of not abiding by an honour code can include rejecting a forced marriage, sexuality, pregnancy outside of marriage, interfaith relationships, seeking divorce, wearing make-up or urban clothes and being in a relationship. 
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) 
    • This can also be referred to as female circumcision which involves females undergoing procedures wrongly believed to ensure their chastity and marital fidelity. 
  • Forced marriage 
    • This is a marriage performed under duress and without full and informed consent of both parties. A forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage as with an arranged marriage both parties freely consent. 
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What help can you give someone experiencing domestic abuse?

Our employees are understanding, sensitive and non-judgemental, and will support the individual experiencing domestic abuse. If you’d prefer to speak to an employee who is the same sex as you, please let us know. 

Every case is different, and we have people that are trained to give advice on housing including tenancies and relocation. Plus, support agencies and charities that may be able to offer further support or advice on legal orders which are designed to protect individuals and where they can be accessed. 

With permission, we can refer an individual to other agencies who will be able to offer independent specialist support and advice. 

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Can I report domestic abuse on behalf of someone else?

Some of the reports we receive can alert us to potential cases of domestic abuse. These can include anti-social behaviour reports such as noise – arguments, shouting, banging, and crying. Individuals in a domestically abusive relationship may not recognise they are being abused or may be afraid or unable to end the relationship.

Concerns of domestic abuse can be reported to us by calling our team on 0300 555 0500 or by emailing

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I’m not sure if I’m experiencing domestic abuse because I’m not experiencing physical violence?

Abuse is rarely a one-off event and sometimes abusers apologise for their behaviour promising it won’t happen again. Very often it continues and gets progressively worse over time. 

Coercive behaviour is an act, or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation, and other abuse, which is used to cause harm, punish, or frighten the individual.

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I’m worried about my privacy or that of someone else, what can you do?

Your details and information are kept private and will not be shared unless you give us permission to or we have serious concerns for the individual or their children’s safety. If we have safeguarding concerns, we have a legal responsibility to pass on the information. 

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I’m worried about someone, what are the signs to look out for that something might be wrong?

Individuals who are experiencing domestic abuse may start to behave differently, this can be a gradual or sudden change and could include: 

  • a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem; 
  • starting to become withdrawn; 
  • changing socialising patterns such as no longer seeing friends or family; 
  • changes in their physical appearance, clothes, and make-up; 
  • always checking in with their partner or being concerned about what they will think; 
  • unexplained injuries. 
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What housing options are available to someone experiencing domestic abuse?

We recognise that housing is one of the main reasons why survivors don’t leave abusive homes. If you fear for your immediate safety, we’ll work in partnership with the relevant local authority and partners to consider your housing options. This could include temporary accommodation or a permanent transfer if there’s no prospect of a safe return.

If you’d like to stay in your home, we’ll work with partner agencies to help provide additional security measures for you. We can also refer you to specialist domestic abuse support organisations. They can give legal advice about non-molestation orders, occupation orders, and tenancy transfer orders.

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Don't suffer in silence, help is available

Don't suffer in silence, help is available

Domestic abuse support organisations

Essex Compass (Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline)

0330 3337 444

Refuge (Domestic Abuse Support)

0808 2000 247

Women’s Aid (Domestic Abuse Support)

Victim Support (Confidential support for all victims of crime and domestic abuse)

Support Helpline: 0808 1689111

Victim Support Essex

Number: 0808 17 81 694

Victim Support Suffolk

Telephone: 0300 303 3706

Anglia Care Trust (Support for male and female DA victims along with their children)

Hotline - 0800 9775690

Helpline - 01473 622888

Galop (Offers support for LGBT people experiencing hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse)

Helpline: 0800 999 5428

LGBT Foundation (Offers support to individuals who are currently at risk or who have previously experienced domestic abuse.

Helpline: 0345 330 3030

Respect (Men’s Advice Line

0808 801 0327

Mankind (Helping men escape domestic abuse)

01823 334 244

Hourglass (Charity giving help and information on the abuse of older people)

0808 808 8141

The Traveller Movement (Help and support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Women)

0754 1637 795

One Voice4Travellers

0793 9519 877

0793 0958 274

Opoka (Helps women and children in the Polish community to improve health, wellbeing, financial stability and happiness by stopping domestic abuse)

0300 365 1700

Childline (Confidential helpline supporting young people up to the age of 19 who are in distress or danger)

0800 11 11

Sharan Project (provides support and advice to vulnerable women, particularly of South Asian origin, who have been disowned due to abuse or persecution including forced marriage and honour based violence

24/7 Helpline: 0845 607 0133

Honour Network – Karma Nirvana (Charity supporting victims/survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse)

0800 5999 247

Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centres (range of services for women and girls who have been raped or experienced sexual abuse)

National Freephone helpline: 0808 802 9999

CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) Essex (works with victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse, providing independent, specialist support)

Helpline 01206 769795

The Ferns (Sexual Assault support in Suffolk)

0300 123 5058

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (Free, fast emergency injunction service for survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation)

0800 970 2070

Suzy Lamplugh Trust (Charity’s mission is to reduce risk of violence and aggression campaign through campaigning, education and support inspired by disappearance of 25-year-old Suzy Lamplugh)

020 7091 0014

Paladin (Trauma-informed service established to assist high risk victims of stalking in England and Wales)

020 3866 4107