Domestic abuse

Supporting people who are victims of domestic abuse

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

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 encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person 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 and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour

Coercive behaviour is an 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.


Multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC)


What is a multi-agency risk assessment conference?

MARAC is a multi-organisation meeting set up to reduce the risk of serious harm or homicide for a victim and to increase the safety, health and wellbeing of victims – adults and any children. In a MARAC, local agencies meet to discuss the highest risk victims of domestic abuse in their area. Information about the risks faced by those victims, the actions needed to ensure safety, and the resources available locally are shared and used to create a risk management plan involving all agencies.


How do I refer a case to MARAC?

Any professional agency can make a referral to MARAC. If a practitioner from a relevant agency identifies a case they consider to be high risk they should first discuss it with their manager. This should include clarifying if the victim has given consent to the process and, if not, that there is legal authority to override the consent. The MARAC risk assessment and referral form can be found in ‘related documents’ below. The completed referral form should then be sent to MARACReferrals@


What are the legal grounds for sharing information?

Disclosures to MARAC are made under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998 and Caldicott Guidelines. Relevant information can be shared when it is necessary to prevent crime, protect the health and / or safety of the victim and / or the rights and freedoms of those who are victims of violence, along with any children. It must be proportionate to the level of risk of harm to a named individual or known households.


Does the victim need to know they are being discussed at MARAC?

If you are the referring agency, it is good practice to discuss the referral with the victim if it is safe to do so. You will need to use your professional judgement to decide whether or not it is safe. The MARAC process works

better when the victim is cooperating and gives consent, however, if consent is refused this may be overruled (Crime & Disorder Act 1998, S.115). If you are not the referring agency, you should check with the referring agency before contacting your client to gather relevant information to ensure it is safe to do so.


What happens after a MARAC?

After a MARAC, the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), or a practitioner in regular contact with the victim, will contact them to let them know about the safety plan, measures and support each agency is offering. All MARAC contacts must confirm with the MARAC coordinator when their agency actions have been completed.

More information

Humberside Police Non-emergency – 101

North East Lincolnshire Women’s Aid  (supporting men and women) – 01472 575757

National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247

The Samaritans  – Freephone 116 123 or Local 01472 353111

Police Domestic Violence Officer (9am – 5pm) – 01472 721224 / 721227

Housing advice – 01472 326296 option 1

Children’s Services (FFAP) – 01472 326292 option 2

Victim Support – 01472 250251 or 356549

Citizens Advice Bureau – 0344 411 1444

National Centre for Domestic Violence – 0800 970 2070

Respect  – 08088024040

Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327