Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse refers to situations in which a person is subjected to controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner but also by a family member or carer.  Every year, nearly 2 million people in the UK suffer some form of domestic abuse – 1.3 million female victims (8.2% of the population) and 600,000 male victims (4%) and lockdown measures during the Covid-19 pandemic have increased the risk for people in abusive relationships.  Children who see, hear or experience the effects of the abuse are also considered victims of domestic abuse under a new national definition as part of the new Domestic Abuse Act (2021).

Domestic abuse means any threats, violence, controlling or coercive behaviour that takes place between family members or people aged over 16 who are in a relationship with each other (or have been in the past). Family members are defined as mother, father, sister, brother and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or stepfamily. Domestic abuse can happen regardless of social group, class, age, race, disability or sexuality of the individuals involved. Domestic abuse can affect men, women and those who identify as non-binary. It can occur in any relationship – heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, young or old. It is a pattern of behaviour used by abusers designed to establish and maintain power and control over another person.

Domestic abuse can include but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coercive control and “gaslighting”
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Financial or economic abuse
  • Harassment or stalking
  • Online or digital abuse

We are using today to raise awareness around domestic abuse and ensure professionals are aware of referral pathways.

How to spot the signs of Domestic Abuse

You may become concerned that someone is being abused in a number of ways:

  • the person might tell you
  • the person might say something that worries you
  • you might see something – an incident, an injury or another sign
  • You can find information about High Risk Domestic Abuse (HRDA) here 

General Information

Report Domestic Abuse

You can report concerns, get advice for yourself or someone else, or get help and support for yourself from Pippa and other local services.  These services are provided via a mix of telephone, email and online communication and face-to-face support depending on what is most appropriate for your situation.  You can find further details on the Southampton City Council Domestic Abuse page

PIPPA is a confidential helpline offering advice, information and support for victims of domestic abuse in Southampton.  The helpline is staffed by expert domestic abuse advisers who can give safety advice, guidance and, with consent, referrals to specialist services. PIPPA is also the first single point of contact for professionals, offering advice and information to help improve client safety, carry out risk assessments and make appropriate referrals.

You can call PIPPA on 023 8091 7917  between 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, or email [email protected].

In an emergency, always call 999

For help call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (24 hrs)

Services for victims, survivors and children & young people are available from:

Services for people using abusive behaviour in their relationships – help to change is also available from:

The Hampton Trust

Telephone: 02380 009898

Email: [email protected]

Website: Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes – Hampton Trust

Domestic Abuse Information and Resources

The Ann Craft Trust

The Power of Language in Safeguarding Practice: read the Ann Craft Trust’s blog here.

Explore the terminology resource from Sporting Equals here

Read the guidance from Victim Support and The Children’s Society about appropriate language when working with young people subject to sexual exploitation here. 

Language Creates Reality: how Becca’s community project is revolutionising language use in health and social care.  Find out more here.

End the Awkward – it can be difficult to know how to talk about disability.  Explore these free resources that offer support and advice to help end the awkward! 

PDF icon  The Power of Language – a factsheet

The words we use can help us to build more positive cultures.

Jargon isn’t just confusing.  It can also leave people feeling excluded and isolated.

Inclusive and accessible language can widen participation in services, organisations and communities.

Good communication is a two-way street.  Don’t just aim to be understood.  Aim to understand others too and ensure that everyone who wants to talk can have their say.

Adolescent to Parent Violence

Adolescent to Parent Violence (APV) or Child to Parent Violence (CPV) can be defined as “abusive behaviour perpetrated by a son or daughter against a parent, who is legally recognised as a child and is most likely still living in the family home”.   Abusive behaviours which are recognised to be involved in APV include but are not limited to: threats, name calling, humiliation, threats to harm themselves or others, property damage, physical violence and theft (Holt, 2015).  APV is not restricted to violence by an adolescent against a parent; it extends to violence against a family member who is acting as a parent, i.e. common-law in-laws, foster family, grandparents, an aunt or an uncle.  It must be acknowledged that there is the potential for APV to occur even when the adolescent does not live in the same property as their parents.

It can be difficult to admit even to yourself that your child’s behaviour might be abusive.  If you do have concerns, there are support services available that can help you understand your individual situation and guide you and your family to healthier behaviours.  This Adolescent to Parent Violence poster from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) includes information about how and where to get help in you local area.

Royal College of Nursing Resources

The Royal College of Nursing Domestic Abuse’s webpage provides a selection of useful links to websites and organisations providing relevant information and support to victims of domestic abuse.  Unless specified, these resources are applicable across the UK.

16 Days of Action

“16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence” is aimed at businesses to support them to take action against domestic abuse and violence.  Employers have a legal obligation to assess dynamic risk and support the health and safety and wellness of their employees.  Companies can do more to aid their employees who endure domestic violence, to train those who witness it and to protect staff as a whole, with the goal of securing safety and mitigating financial loss.  Spanning 16 days from 25th November to 10th December 2021, a theme will be identified each day to explore the various forms of domestic violence.  In doing so, the workplace will be better equipped to acknowledge the signs that indicate it may be going on.  Further information can be found on the 16 Days of Action website, including a Toolkit of Resources where you can find posters, videos, podcasts and other useful social media items to use.

Information for Professionals

Domestic Abuse Referral Pathways

This pathway is available to help professionals make referrals to services for domestic abuse.  Follow the link below for guidance:

  Southampton Referral pathway

Domestic Abuse and Mental Health

This report by SafeLives on Domestic Abuse and Mental Health aims to highlight areas of improvement that can be made to how we, as professionals, support people affected by domestic abuse who are also experiencing mental health problems.  The report includes good practice guidance for multi-agency meetings.  We know that people experiencing mental health problems will face additional barriers to disclosing, to being believed and to accessing services.  As such, they form a “hidden” group whose voices are rarely heard.  It is important that we identify these barriers and examine what both frontline practitioners and those with a strategic role can do to ensure that services are more inclusive and responsive.

Actions for Commissioners, Domestic Violence Coordinators and Managers of Specialist and Non-Specialist services

This poster on ‘“Getting it Right First Time from SafeLives lists the Top Ten Actions for commissioners, domestic violence co-ordinators and managers of specialist and non-specialist services.

Adult safeguarding and domestic abuse: a guide to support practitioners and managers 

The purpose of this Adult Safeguarding and Domestic Abuse guide from the Local Government Association is to help staff to give better informed and more effective support to people who need an adult safeguarding service because of domestic abuse.  It addresses situations where an adult who has care and support needs is being harmed or abused by an intimate partner or close family member in a way which could also be defined as domestic abuse.  It does not seek to replace existing safeguarding procedures and it is anticipated that it be read and used in the context of local procedures and protocols

If you are worried about an adult, please telephone Southampton Adult Social Care: 023 8083 3003. If you are worried about a child who is affected by domestic abuse, please contact Children’s Social Care on: 023 8083 3004 or call the Police: 101, or in an emergency dial 999