Domestic abuse and sexual violence

Help and advice if you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse.

If you're in immediate danger you should always call 999

Silent Solution - if speaking or making a sound would put you in danger and you need immediate help, call 999 and stay on the line, then press 55 when prompted, and the call will be transferred to the police who will know it is an emergency call.

 You can call the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline free on 0800 977 5690

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined across Government as 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. 

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse and sexual violence. It can occur in both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ relationships, and can effect anyone, young or old, any ethnicity or sexual identity, any religion and social background.

It is a pattern of behaviour which is motivated by the abuser seeking to establish and maintain power and control over another person.

Abuse doesn't have to be physical, and includes a range of behaviours which will be experienced everyday. It may involve a process of isolating you from family and friends. There are likely to be rules which if broken will result in consequences and this will create a sense of fear which is how the power and control is maintained.

Am I being abused?

Does you partners or member of your family frighten you?

It may not be easy to recognise that you are being abused. The person abusing you is likely to tell you that it is “your fault” or that “it’s not that bad”. They may try to convince you that it’s perfectly normal or that no-one else would believe you. 

You will probably have changed the way you do things to try and maintain calm and keep the abuser happy. However, it is likely that no matter what you do the abuse continues and possibly gets worse, the level of abuse may escalate, and it is likely to happen more often.

Isolation is a key tactic used by abusers to establish power and control, and to try and make you completely dependant on them. An abuser seeking to isolate you may:

  • Prevent you from seeing family and friends
  • Encourage you to quit your work or study
  • Monitor your movements
  • Monitor your online activity
  • Restrict your access to money
  • Deny you access to buy basic necessities.

Domestic abuse should be understood as a pattern of behaviour, it is not a series of isolated "incidents". The statistics show that this is some of the most dangerous behaviour and by recognising that you are being abused you can start to identify risks and think abut ways you might be able to stay safer.

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Help is available

Whether you are currently experiencing domestic abuse, have recently left an abusive relationship or think you may be in an abusive relationship it is important to know you are not alone. There are services that can help you better understand what is happening to you, they will be able to offer advice on staying safe, provide practical support and help you to work through any decisions you want to make. 

Try talking to someone you trust or contact an organisation for support:

Further details on support services can be found at the links below:

These files are supplied by a third-party and may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Find out how to request an accessible format.

Next steps

Only leave when it is safe to do so.

Leaving is a process. During this process and the period following separation the risk to you (and your children) is at its highest. If you are thinking of leaving it is important that you have a plan and some support to keep yourself safe. Speak to someone about what is going on and consider getting support from a specialist agency who can offer advice on the best ways to leave safely and how you can stay safe post-separation. 

Link to agencies that can help can be found under the 'Am I being abused' section.

If you would like to know more about the work being done locally to Suffolk, please contact community.safety@suffolk.gov.uk.

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Abusive relationship advice for young people

Domestic abuse is not acceptable, it effects people of all ages including teenagers.

What is abuse?

An abusive relationship can include being:

  • threatened with violence
  • told what to wear
  • told who to see and speak to
  • told where you can go
  • constantly criticised and put down

It is also abuse if any form of social media is being used to embarrass or threaten you.
Abuse is never OK. You can't blame abuse on:

  • anger
  • alcohol
  • jealousy
  • a sign of love or caring
  • the way you behave
  • the way you look
  • what you wear

If you are in an abusive relationship it's not your fault, and you do not have to put up with it.

Information and advice can be found at:

Suffolk Domestic Abuse Champions Network

Many organisations struggle to support people experiencing Domestic Abuse and are sometimes not confident enough to talk to someone about it or encourage them to disclose.

Our Domestic Abuse Champions offer consistent information, advice and support which is helping to bring lasting positive changes for victims across Suffolk. Reaching victims as early as possible will prevent further harm.

What is the Aim of the Champions?

  • To offer a consistent response to Domestic Abuse across Suffolk and support which is rooted in the community.
  • Champions will be confident in encouraging disclosures of abuse, they will respond in a professional manner giving people the tools to Stay Safe and get the right support promptly.
  • We are looking for people who are passionate about Domestic Abuse Awareness Raising and who are motivated to make changes. You will be able to recognise the signs and the impact, whilst understanding risk and offering basic safety advice.

Suffolk County Council has set up a Network of Champions across the County with over 500 already trained. The Champions are provided with free training to have the skills to spread awareness to other colleagues and act as the ‘Go to Person’ for Information between their own agency and local support services.

The Network offers dedicated Champions within organisations a variety of support, knowledge, Multi Agency Links as well as Training and Events.

If you would like to become a Champion within your organisation please book your place through Suffolk CPD online and search ‘Champion’. If you would like more information please email dachampions@suffolk.gov.uk.

Our Champion Co-ordinators are also available to attend team meetings or deliver bespoke sessions tailored to you. This is free across Suffolk so please do get in touch.

Our Champion Coordinators have also recorded a series of podcasts with interviews with specialist support services and survivors of domestic abuse: Domestic Abuse Champions Podcasts (for best performance listen in Chrome internet browser).

Domestic Homicide Reviews

When someone has been killed as a result of domestic violence and abuse, a Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) should be carried out.

What is a Domestic Homicide Review (DHR)?

Since 2011, Community Safety Partnerships have been required to undertake Domestic Homicide Reviews where someone over the age of 16 dies, or appears to have died from violence, abuse or neglect by someone they are related to or had been in an intimate personal relationship with, or were a member of the same household.

Intimate personal relationships include relationships between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This can also include where a victim took their own life (suicide) and the circumstances cause concern.

What is the purpose of a Domestic Homicide Review?

Domestic Homicide Reviews are not inquiries into how the victim dies or into who is responsible. The purpose of a Domestic Homicide Review is to understand where there are lessons to be learned.
For these lessons to be learned as widely and as thoroughly as possible, local professionals and organisations need to understand fully what happened in each death, and most importantly, to look at what needs to change to reduce the risk of such tragedies happening in the future.

What is the process for Domestic Homicide Reviews?

Suffolk County Council have developed a local Suffolk procedure for carrying out a Domestic Homicide Review and for sharing the findings. This has been adopted by the three Suffolk Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs).
Once Domestic Homicide Reviews are approved by the Home Office Quality Assurance Panel, the approved and anonymised Overview Report, Executive Summary and Action Plan are published on the local District and Borough Council websites.

Where can I find further information on Domestic Homicide Reviews?

Published Domestic Homicide Review reports and action plans for each of the Community Safety Partnerships can be found on the Suffolk District and Borough Council websites:

• East Suffolk Community Safety Partnership (covering Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District)
• Ipswich Community Safety Partnership (covering Ipswich Borough)
• Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership (covering Babergh District and Mid Suffolk District and West Suffolk Council)
Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership (SSP)