Domestic abuse or violence is a crime which often goes unreported because the victim feels trapped and alone. We are here for you and there are also other organisations who can offer you help and support. Remember, it's not your fault.
What is domestic abuse?
We use the term ‘domestic abuse’ because it covers all types of abuse, not just violence and threatening behaviour:
- Psychological and emotional abuse
Making you question your worth, controlling contact with friends and family, making you feel like you couldn't cope on your own
- Sexual abuse
Any sexual act where you are forced to do something you don't want to
- Financial abuse
Controlling access to money, accounting for every penny spent, stopping you getting a job or spending the money allocated for other things
- Violence or threatening behaviour
- Honour based abuse.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone over the age of 16. It can happen to anyone of any gender, religion, race or sexuality. Domestic abuse can happen in short or long-term relationships, with ex-partners or family members.
Know the signs:
You might not realise you're in an abusive relationship, especially if the abuse is psychological. Research suggests that domestic abuse gets worse over time. Realising you or someone you care about is in an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.
Signs that you are in an abusive relationship:
- Your partner is violent or threatening towards you
- Your partner criticises you and puts you down
- Your partner is controlling about what you do, where you go, who you see or what you spend.
- You feel afraid of your partner
- You think you are to blame for the way your partner treats you
- You feel embarrassed for your friends and family to see how your partner treats you.
It's important to remember:
- You may feel trapped and unable to leave but there is a lot of support available
- Some organisations can find accommodation for you and your children if you need it
- You may not want to get your partner into trouble because of your emotional involvement, but domestic abuse often increases in frequency and severity over time.
Signs that someone you care about may be in an abusive relationship:
- Withdrawing from their circle of friends and doing less with other people
- Lots of phone calls or texts from their partner when with friends
- Anxiety when they might be home late or plans change
- Unexplained bruises or physical injuries.
It is not always possible to think clearly when experiencing domestic abuse. However, the following advice can help you plan ahead and get yourself to safety.
- Make a plan for your safety
- Think about talking to your neighbours
- Arrange to have a place to go
- Have your own copies of important papers
- Have important phone numbers available
- Keep an overnight bag ready
- Put aside money and spare keys.
During an incident:
- Get out if you can
- Call for help or phone 999.
If you can't leave the situation:
- Avoid rooms with only one exit
- Avoid the kitchen, bathroom and garage if possible
- Call for help or phone 999.
If you are living alone:
- Change locks, secure doors and windows
- Change your phone numbers
- Seek legal advice
- Notify trusted friends and family.
- Inform your work and children's school and/or nursery if appropriate
- Change your daily routine
Plan ahead for unexpected contact with the abuser.
Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme -Clare’s Law:
If you believe your partner was abusive in a previous relationship, or are concerned that someone you know is with an abusive partner, the disclosure scheme explains how you can apply for information about their history via the below process.
Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) provide you with immediate protection following an incident of domestic violence and give you time to consider what to do next.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, we would prefer to speak to you on the phone (by calling us on 101) or in person. If you are, or you think someone is in immediate danger call 999.
How Wiltshire Police is improving their response to domestic abuse
In 2013 the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to inspect the police’s response to domestic abuse. HMIC published their findings in the March 2014 report entitled Everyone's business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse. This set out a number of recommendations for improvements to the service provided by all police forces to people that experienced domestic abuse. You can find out what we are doing in response to these recommendations by reading our Domestic Abuse Action Plan via the Publication Scheme section.