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Crime and victims

Domestic violence

Too often the crime of domestic violence is hidden away, but we are determined to bring it out into the open and address its root causes.

What is meant by 'domestic violence'?

Domestic violence is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Whatever form it takes, domestic violence is rarely a one-off incident. More usually it's a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim.

Domestic violence occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography.  The figures show, however, that it consists mainly of violence by men against women. 

Victims of domestic violence suffer on many levels - health, housing, education - and lose the freedom to live their lives how they want, and without fear.  We aim to support victims of domestic violence with a range of new measures

What we're doing about domestic violence

We have invested £14 million into tackling the problem of domestic violence and have developed a Domestic Violence National Action Plan.

Domestic Violence National Action Plan

Domestic Violence: A national report (new window) sets out our progress so far in tackling the crime.   It also details the Domestic Violence National Action Plan proposals to further improve support for victims and bring more perpetrators to justice.

Lessons Learned from Domestic Violence Enforcement Campaigns 2006 draws from the experiences of 19 police forces trying innovative techniques over a four-month period in 2006. Their successes and failures form guidelines for police, local authorities and support groups.

New laws to increase protection from domestic violence

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 was introduced to increase the protection, support and rights of victims and witnesses.  It also gives the police and other agencies the tools to get to the heart of domestic violence crimes.  The Act is a key part of our aim of putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.

How you can get help

If you are a victim of domestic violence, or are a concerned friend or relative, you can get the help and support you need.

Domestic violence helplines

The following helplines can offer you practical help and advice including:

  • emergency refuge accommodation
  • safety planning and advice
  • translation facilities if you have difficulty communicating in English

English National Domestic Violence helpline

0808 2000 247

Northern Ireland Women's Aid 24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline

028 9033 1818

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline

0800 027 1234

Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline

0808 80 10 800

Male Advice & Enquiry Line

0808 801 0327

The Dyn Wales/Dyn Cymru Helpline

0808 801 0321

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