What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse or violence can happen to anyone. It happens to women and men and anyone can be an abuser.

Last year police recorded 464,886 cases of domestic abuse in England and Wales which was an increase of 10% on the previous year. 13.6% of men and 26.3% of women aged 16 to 59 have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16.

(ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales, year ending March 2017).

Domestic Abuse can take different forms, including:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial abuse
  • coercive control / emotional abuse
  • digital / online abuse
  • honour-based violence
  • forced marriage
  • female genital mutilation (FGM).

Living in an abusive home or with parents who are in an abusive relationship can have a serious impact on a child’s wellbeing.

Some of the indicators of children witnessing or experiencing domestic violence can include:

  • aggressive or angry behaviour
  • becoming withdrawn
  • getting into trouble or difficulty settling at school
  • anxiety, depression or eating disorders
  • taking drugs or excessively drinking alcohol
  • problems sleeping, including nightmares or wetting the bed.

If you’re worried a child is being abused, you should contact the FRONT DOOR service or contact Victim Support for help who can also provide confidential support and information to parents, carers and teachers, as well as supporting children through our service for young people, You & Co.

Getting help and support for domestic violence

You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it’s important to tell someone and remember you’re not alone.

You can:

  • talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife
  • women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
  • men can call the Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244
  • in an emergency, call 999

You can seek support from the NHS 

Galop provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.

Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.