What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse isn't just about violent or threatening behaviour.
It can happen to anyone regardless of gender, religion, race or sexuality. It can happen in short and long term relationships. Partners, ex-partners and family members can all be involved. Domestic abuse can take many forms:
Types of abuse
Controlling and coercive behaviour is domestic abuse and it is illegal.
The following videos from Dorset Police show just some of the examples of controlling and coercive behaviour.
The Cut Your Strings campaign was made by Dorset Police in collaboration with Bournemouth University, the Dorset High Sheriff John Young, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Wessex Crown Prosecution Service and the Safer Poole Partnership.
Violence, intimidation and threats
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) were asked by the Home Secretary to write a report on the national police response to domestic abuse. Police forces were given recommendations about how they could improve the service given 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
Realising you or someone you care about is in an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.
It can be difficult to see if someone is in an abusive relationship, particularly if the abuse isn't physical.
Domestic abuse often gets worse over time so spotting the signs early is vital.
If you believe your partner was abusive in a previous relationship, or are concerned that someone you know is with an abusive partner, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (aka Clare's Law) explains how you can apply for information about their history.
It is not always possible to think clearly when experiencing domestic abuse. However, the following advice can help:
How to report it
Domestic abuse is everyone's business. If it's happening to you or someone you know please report it as soon as you can. We take all reports extremely seriously.
Please call us on 101 to report your concerns. If you think you or someone else you know are in immediate danger please call 999 immediately.
Support is available
If you are experiencing domestic abuse it is not your fault. You may feel trapped and unable to leave but there is a lot of support available whether or not you want the police to be involved.
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.
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.
See the links on this page for organisations that offer help and support