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Domestic abuse happens every day, in every part of the UK.

If you are a victim, you are not alone – please talk to us so that we can help.

Domestic abuse can affect anybody; regardless of their gender, age, race, sexuality, religion or social background.

It is not only experienced within current or past relationships, but can happen within families.

It is not acceptable in any circumstances.

Domestic abuse may include:

  • Emotional abuse – calling you names, continually criticising you, humiliating you, withholding affection.
  • Isolation – controlling where you go or who you talk to, trapping you in your own home, acting in a jealous or possessive way.
  • Intimidation or threats – smashing or throwing things when angry, threatening to hurt children, pets or themselves.
  • Economic abuse – giving you an allowance, refusing to share money, not letting you work.
  • Control – taking ‘privileges’ away, making you ask permission.
  • Physical violence – pushes, slaps, bites, kicks or chokes you. Includes using an object or weapon to hurt you or driving recklessly to scare you.
  • Sexual abuse – holding you down during sex, forcing you to have sex or dress in a sexual way.

The website provides detailed information about what is domestic abuse and the legal remedies available to victims.

What is Controlling behaviour?
Controlling behaviour can range from a number of acts designed to make a person feel inferior and/or dependent such as isolating them from support from friends or family, controlling how much money they have and how they spend it, monitoring their activities and their movements, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and generally regulating their everyday behaviour.

What is Coercive behaviour?

Coercive behaviour is a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. This can be things like repeatedly putting a person down, calling them names or telling them that they are worthless, threatening to harm or kill them or their child, threatening to publish information about them or to report them to the police or the authorities, or damaging their property or household goods.

Coercive and controlling behaviour can take place during a relationship between intimate partners, former partners who still live together, or family members.

It’s wrong for people to violate the trust of those closest to them. Hopefully with more awareness, reporting and subsequent sentencing of the ‘coercive control’ offence, it will provide better protection to victims experiencing this kind of continuous abuse.

We have specially trained officers who can help people experiencing all types of abuse, and this can be reported online or by calling 101.

Reporting Domestic Abuse

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, please talk to us as there are several ways that we can help.

Remember to always to call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

You can also report domestic abuse in the following ways:

When you report domestic abuse we will take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the victim. This may include removing the perpetrator, arranging medical assistance and gathering evidence.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, your case will be dealt with by officers specially trained in responding to domestic abuse. A risk assessment will be completed and if you are considered of high risk your case will be passed to one of our Safeguarding Investigation Units.

Support for victims of Domestic Abuse

Sussex Police has specialist domestic abuse staff and works closely with partner agencies to ensure any victim of domestic abuse gets the support that they need.

This includes: 

  • Support and safety advice from Victim Support.
  • Domestic Abuse Case Workers within our Safeguarding Investigation Units.
  • Local Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) services provide independent and impartial support for victims at significant risk.
  • Refuge services can provide emergency accommodation for victims of domestic abuse.

You will be supported throughout the whole police investigation and given further support if the case goes to court.

Ongoing support can be provided by partner agencies. The Safe Space Sussex website provides details of local agencies that can support victims of domestic abuse.

Refuge provide a freephone 24 hour domestic violence helpline.

Male victims

Men don’t often see themselves as victims, which is why domestic abuse against men is under-reported. Sadly there is a real stigma around this and men often don’t think they will be believed. This is not the case and we urge men, including those in same sex relationships, who are experiencing domestic abuse to seek support.

We deal with all domestic abuse reported to us in the same way as it affects all social groups, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race or religion.

There are specialist services for male victims of domestic abuse nationwide, such as Men's Advice Line. Locally, male victims can get specialist help and advice from The Portal (East Sussex and Brighton & Hove) and Worth Services (West Sussex).

Safety advice for victims of Domestic Abuse

If you are a victim of domestic abuse we will put a safety plan in place for you.

You should also follow these safety tips:

  • If an argument starts, if possible, remove yourself from the situation and any danger and go straight to a safe place. If this is not possible, try to keep calm, and keep your body language, movement and tone of voice as non-threatening as possible.
  • Try to keep at least two to three feet between you and the perpetrator and identify possible escape routes in case you need to get out quickly.
  • Avoid the bathroom, kitchen, garage or anywhere near potential weapons.
  • If violence does occur or you are in danger call 999 immediately.

Other safety measures should include:

  • Ensure that you have a support system in place that can assist you, including friends, family and professionals. Talk to those you trust and have a pre-arranged signal that means you are in danger and that they should call the police.
  • If you have children, teach them it is not safe for them to intervene and that they should remove themselves from danger and contact the police.
  • Ensure you always have a fully charged mobile phone and petrol in your car in case you need to call for help or leave quickly. It may be worth keeping a packed bag in a safe hiding place.

If you know a victim of domestic abuse, the This is Not an Excuse website provides information as to how you can support them and help to keep the safe.

Civil options for victims of Domestic Abuse

Alongside reporting domestic abuse to the police, there are several civil measures available to victims.

This includes differing forms of injunctions which place legal limits on someone to try and stop or reduce the abuse.

The National Centre for Domestic Violence provides free advice and support in obtaining injunctions.

The police may also apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) that protects the victim in the immediate aftermath of a domestic abuse incident by banning the perpetrator from returning to the victim’s residence for up to 28 days.

Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse

Respect provides a confidential and anonymous helpline for anyone who is concerned that their behaviour is abusive or violent towards their partner, ex partner or family member. Their helpline is 0808 802 4040.