Domestic abuse

Definition 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.

Safety planning

Safety planning is a way of helping you to protect yourself and your children. A personal safety plan is a tool to assist in identifying options and can help you plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse. It also helps you to think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship, or if you decide to leave.

There is no right or wrong way to develop a safety plan but it is important that it is easier to remember. If you have difficulty in remembering things, ask if your friends or family can keep a copy of the plan. Whether it is safe or not to write the plan down, it is still important to make and think about one.

Please see the advice of Women’s Aid  for more information and support.

Legal advice

A Domestic Violent Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) will give individuals an opportunity to make enquiries about someone who they’re in a relationship in with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, where there is a concern that the person may be violent.

Anybody any can an enquiry, but information will only be given to someone at risk or a person a position to safeguard the victim. The intention is to give potential victims information about the history of their partner, so they can make an informed decision about the relationship.

Members of the public who wish to make an application under the DVDS are asked to call Humberside Police on 101 or for more information you can visit GOV.UK – Domestic violence disclosure scheme: guidance .

The Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) allow senior police officers to act instantly to safeguard families they consider to be under threat from perpetrators of domestic abuse. The police have the power to protect victims of domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home. These powers give victims of domestic abuse the time, space and support to plan a safer future, by keeping the perpetrator away. If abusers breach the Order it could then lead to a prison sentence. As part of the scheme, victims will also be offered help and advice by caseworkers on the options open to them – including securing a longer-term injunction.

For more information you can visit GOV.UK – Domestic violence protection orders .

There are two types of injunctions:

  • Non-Molestation Order is put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and your children from a partner, ex-partner or someone you are or have lived with.
  • Occupation Order is put in place to regulate who can live in the family home and also restrict the abuser from entering the surrounding area.

Both of these orders can be granted for 6 – 12 months.

For more information you can visit Women’s Aid – Getting an injunction .

Supporting employees during COVID-19

The current restrictions in place due to Covid-19 mean that most employees are not seeing staff face-to-face, therefore it may be more difficult to spot some of the usual signs of domestic abuse.

One thing managers can do is check in staff members regularly via phone or video call. Be aware that others could be listening – stick to general welfare questions and make a note of any concerns to avoid putting the employee at further risk.

If you are an employee, remember that your employer has a duty of care towards you. Don’t be afraid to confide in a trusted colleague if you are experiencing domestic abuse, if it is safe to do so.

Business in the Community and PHE has published a domestic abuse toolkit  providing guidance on how employers can support those affected by it.

Related documents

Appropriate Language – Guidance for Professionals (Word, 122KB)

NEL Domestic Abuse Safer Accommodation Strategy 2022 (Word, 243KB)

NEL Domestic Abuse Strategy 2021-2024 (Word, 826KB)

Related content

Multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC)

Related websites

National Domestic Violence helpline

The Samaritans

National Centre for Domestic Violence


Women’s Aid

Supporting agencies

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

NELC Children’s Integrated Front Door – 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