Domestic abuse | Suffolk Constabulary

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Domestic abuse

We are committed to supporting anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse and will work with our partner agencies to help you.

Our message is simple - no-one need suffer in silence.

Domestic abuse can include any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

The abuse can be:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional.

Controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts which make someone subordinate and/or dependent by:

  • isolating them from sources of support
  • exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain
  • depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of:

  • assault
  • threats
  • humiliation
  • intimidation
  • abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes honour-based abuse, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

If this is happening to you, it is important to remember that it is not your fault, and you need help and support to keep safe. If you feel in immediate danger as a result of domestic abuse, dial 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for the police to arrive.

Our police officers are highly trained to deal with domestic abuse. They will listen and treat victims with sensitivity and respect. Your safety is important to us. 

In addition to the police, there are specialist support agencies which can help individuals affected by domestic abuse.

Please don’t be worried about talking to us, we will always listen to you and do everything we can to help.

Cover your tracks

As you surf the internet, your internet browser will save certain information, such as the websites you have visited and images or publications you have downloaded. If you do not want people who may have access to your computer to know which websites you have been viewing, you should use a safe computer such as a friend’s, library or work.

There are different methods to hide your tracks and delete your history for each internet browser. We have provided information about how to delete your history from some of the most popular browsers, which can be viewed here.

It should be noted that if you are using someone else’s computer they may notice if you delete the computer history and cookies.

Disclaimer: If you don’t want someone to see that you’re viewing this website, you can click on the ‘EXIT’ button on the right, which will take you away from this page to the BBC news website.

Please be aware that the time it will take to load the BBC website will depend on your connectivity speed and device performance. It may be better to keep another document or website open in a new tab or window while browsing. If someone comes in the room and you don’t want them to see what you’re looking at, you can quickly switch views.

Help and support

Domestic abuse can leave you feeling trapped and lonely. It is important to remember that it is not your fault, and you need help and support to keep safe.

If you'd rather not talk to the police, there are other ways to get help. You can seek help and advice from the following agencies:

Making a safety plan

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, having a safety plan could help reduce the risk to you and your children. A plan will help you to keep safe both within the relationship, and if you decide to leave.

Where possible try to:

  • find out about local organisations offering information and support - the Women Aid Survivor's Handbook is an excellent source of information
  • keep a diary of domestic abuse incidents and keep it safe
  • work out where you can quickly and easily access a phone (mobile, neighbour, relative or friend)
  • carry a list of emergency numbers, including relatives, friends and local police
  • have an extra set of keys cut for your home and car
  • keep the keys and some spare clothes for you and your children packed and ready - leave them somewhere safe, perhaps with a trusted friend or relative
  • keep documents somewhere safe, ready to take – birth certificates, benefit books and passports (if you can’t get the originals make a photocopy)
  • put aside a small amount of money for bus, train or taxi fares.

If you decide to leave your home and you have more time to plan:

  • leave when your partner is not around
  • take any medicines you or your children might need
  • take all of your children with you
  • take what you can of your personal possessions which have sentimental value
  • take clothes to last several days
  • open a separate savings account in another bank or building society to build up money for after you leave
  • take any important legal documents
  • arrange for pets to be cared for – a local animal charity may be able to help
  • arrange for household items and even furniture to be kept in safe storage.

If you or someone you know is being abused remember:

  • the victim is never to blame for the abuse
  • only the abuser can change the abusive behaviour
  • ignoring violence is dangerous
  • there is life after an abusive relationship.

Getting help will give victims the confidence to start a life free from abuse.

If you feel in immediate danger as a result of domestic abuse, dial 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for the police to arrive.

Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders

The police can issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice in order to prevent further violence or a threat of violence.

Both the notices and the order act as temporary restraining orders. They place certain conditions on the person which can include:

  • stopping him/her from entering, and being within a certain distance, of your home
  • stopping him/her from making the other person leave or excluding them from your home
  • requiring him/her to leave your home.

Usually this will be between two people who are in a relationship or have previously been in a relationship. However, a notice can be served on anyone aged 18 or over who the police believe has been violent or has threatened violence against the other person. The magistrate can then issue a Domestic Violence Protection Order that will last for between 14 and 28 days.

Please note: The police can serve a Domestic Violence Protection Notice or Domestic Violence Protection Order even if you do not agree to it.  You will not have to go to court or give evidence if you do not want to.

If you feel in immediate danger phone 999.

Examples of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can take many forms. It is domestic abuse if your partner or a family member:

  • threatens you by saying, “I will leave you” or “I will kill myself”
  • shoves, pushes you or is otherwise violent towards you
  • makes you fear for your physical safety
  • puts you down, calls you names, plays mind games
  • stops you seeing your family and friends, saying they cause the problems
  • controls where you go, what you do, your money, how you dress
  • is jealous and possessive, looking through your phone / facebook / constantly texting or calling you, going past your house or place of work
  • treats you like a servant
  • prevents you from getting a job
  • frightens you, shifts the blame of abuse and tells you, “it was your fault”
  • forces you into having sex.

If this is happening to you, it is important to remember that it is not your fault, and you need help and support to keep safe.

If you feel in immediate danger as a result of domestic abuse, dial 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for the police to arrive.

Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law)

What is the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme?

Also known as Clare’s Law, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme gives you the right to make an application to the police if you have concerns about your partner's history. You can also make an application if you are worried that someone you know may be in a relationship with a previously abusive partner.

Download the Clare's Law Booklet for more information - clares_law_booklet.pdf

The aim of the scheme is to:

  • give you formal ways to make enquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past
  • help you to make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship
  • provide further help and support to assist you when making that choice.

If police checks show that your partner has a record of violent behaviour, or if there is other information to indicate that you may be at risk from your partner, the police will consider sharing this information with you.

How do I make an application?
You can:

  • visit a police station
  • phone 101 the non-emergency number for the police
  • speak to a member of the police on the street.

If you require further information about the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or wish to make a request for information under it, please contact Suffolk Police on 101. If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.