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Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101

Domestic Abuse

If you are experiencing physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse or are being intimidated or threatened by a current or previous partner, you are being subjected to domestic abuse. You may be feeling frightened, isolated and ashamed. You are NOT to blame for what is happening to you, it is NOT your fault. Above all, you are not alone and you don't need to suffer in silence. Help is available to you.


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    What is domestic abuse?

      What is domestic abuse?

      Domestic abuse exists in all sections of our communities. Domestic abuse can exist in all types of relationships between partners and ex partners. Abusers and victims can be male or female, any race or religion and from all different types of background.

      Staffordshire Police works to a nationally agreed definition of domestic abuse.

      This is:

      Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or 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.

      This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

      • Coercive control
      • Psychological and/or emotional abuse
      • Physical abuse
      • Sexual abuse
      • Financial abuse
      • Harassment
      • Stalking
      • Online or digital abuse.

      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 person gain, depriving them of means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

      Coercive behaviour is: an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. New legislation introduced in December 2015 offers police more powers to prosecute this type of behaviour.

      Abuse is rarely a one-off event, on average a victim will endure 30-35 incidents of abuse before seeking help. So if you, or someone you know is thinking of seeking help, please contact us in the confidence that we understand the courage it has taken for you to speak out.

      Staffordshire Police works closely with partners and specialist domestic abuse services to ensure we support victims and those affected by domestic abuse.

      What do I do if this is happening to me?

      In addition you may wish to consider some of the following:

      Phone numbers

      Keep a list ready of important phone numbers (e.g. police, friends, family, helplines) for you and your children.

      Tell a friend or neighbour

      Are there friends or neighbours you could tell about the abuse? Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises.

      Teach children how to get help

      If you have children teach them how to dial 999 to ask for the police. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help. 

      Safer places in the home

      Think about safer places in your home where there are no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen, try to get your abuser into one of these safer places.

      Think about how you could get out safely

      Even if you do not actually plan to leave the home, think about how you could do it and where you could go. Practice ways of getting out by doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the rubbish, walking the dog, going to the shop. Put together a bag of things you use every day and hide it where it is easy for you to get it or ask someone you trust if they would keep this for you.

      Emergency phone calls

      Can you get access to a phone to call the police for help? Calls to 999 are free even if they are from a mobile phone. You should also be aware that the number 101 will also connect you to Staffordshire Police (unless you are out of the county).

      Reporting Domestic Abuse

      How to report domestic abuse

      If the incident requires immediate attention please contact the police. In an emergency always call 999 (if the incident is ongoing or life is in danger).

      If you have been the victim or witness to domestic abuse, or have concerns regarding a victim of domestic abuse there are several ways you can report this to the police.

      • By calling 101. However, if someone is in immediate danger always phone 999. 
      • By visiting a police station enquiry office.
      • Trained staff from partner agencies can take your report and forward it to the police. 

      Help us to help you

      You can help us to help you by:

      Providing as much detail as possible about what has happened to you. Making a note of the time and date and place the incident(s) took place. Providing the names and addresses of anyone who saw/heard the abuse or whom you told about what was happening to you. Keeping anything that may confirm what happened to you e.g. mobile phone video or audio recording, threatening text messages or abusive mail.

      What will the police do?

      Staffordshire Police is committed to providing a professional, sensitive and consistent approach to victims of domestic abuse. This means:

      • Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of victims, their families and any other person present     
      • Thorough investigation of all incidents, securing all available evidence and taking appropriate action. 
      • Actively pursuing offenders so that they can be held accountable through the criminal justice system
      • Ensuring that appropriate information and advice is provided in relation to the support available from other agencies.

      Who else can I contact for support?

      There are many agencies set up to offer support to victims and their families experiencing domestic abuse. The following contacts may be useful:

      National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge)
      www.nationaldomeseticviolencehelpline.org.uk
      0808 2000 247

      Women's Aid www.womensaid.org.uk

      Refuge www.refuge.org.uk

      Men's Advice Line www.mensadviceline.org.uk
      0808 801 0327

      Galop www.galop.org.uk
      The UK's only national LGBT domestic abuse helpline
      0800 999 5428

      Are you an abuser?

      If you are an abuser you should be aware that you will be held accountable for your behaviour.

      This means:

      • If a criminal offence is committed, officers will conduct a thorough investigation
      • When sufficient evidence has been gathered, you may be arrested, regardless of whether the victim wishes to make a complaint or not
      • You may be detained in police custody pending appearance at court
      • At court, you may be remanded in custody or released on bail conditions which will restrict your activities
      • It is the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute the case in the public interest. The victim CANNOT have the "charges dropped".

      Bail conditions

      Bail conditions are imposed in order to minimise any potential future risk of harm that you may pose as a result of your alleged violent offending behaviour. This means that Staffordshire Police will enforce any domestic abuse bail conditions relating to you by carrying out unannounced visits to places from which you are excluded, or places you are required to be. Regular enquiries will also be made to ensure you do not make contact with anyone specifically named in your bail conditions.

      Key points to note:

      • Staffordshire Police will use a range of investigative methods at their disposal to build the strongest possible case against you.
      • It is the Crown Prosecution Service who make decisions in relation to prosecution
      • It is your responsibility to comply fully with any bail conditions
      • Any breaches of bail will be treated as such even if you state that you have reconciled with your partner.

      How to get help

      Have you been violent or abusive? Do you think you have a problem controlling your anger with your partner? If you are an abuser or have abused in the past and recognise that in order to change your behaviour you need help there are services available.

      The following organisation may be able to assist you:

      Respect www.respectphoneline.org.uk

      0808 802 4040

      Domestic Abuse in Young Relationships

      Domestic abuse isn't just something that happens to adults.

      What counts as abuse?

      Domestic abuse doesn't always involve physical violence. If your boyfriend/girlfriend tries to control or dominate you, threatens you or makes you feel nervous, that could be abusive behaviour.

      Does your boyfriend/girlfriend embarrass or humiliate you in front of family, friends or in public?

      Do they deliberately destroy your property or cherished possessions?

      Do they force you to engage in sexual acts that you are not comfortable with?

      Do they threaten to publish explicit photos of you on social network sites or send you or your friends threatening text messages?

      This is domestic abuse

      Abuse can happen at any time but it often begins or gets worse after you've broken up, when a girl is pregnant or has recently had a baby.

      Warning signs

      It's important to know the difference between loving and controlling behaviour. What might appear as someone caring for you can be signs of an abusive relationship.

      If this is your first relationship you may not have a lot of experience in spotting the warning signs.

      Here are some things you might want to look out for:

      Does he/she...

      • text and call you all the time?
      • want you to spend ALL your time together?
      • get jealous when you chat to friends and other boys/girls?
      • make you wear clothes he/she likes?
      • pressure you to take the relationship further?
      • try to humiliate you when you fall out?
      • say they would KILL themselves if you left him/her?
      • get violent with you?

      There is no reason why your boyfriend/girlfriend should humiliate, control or be violent to you.

      What can you do?

      If you, or someone you know, is being abused it's important to get help.

      All reports are investigated and your safety and wellbeing will be of prime importance. We may also put you in touch with support groups who can offer help.

      Remember, if you are being abused you are not to blame. It is not your fault and you don't have to put up with it.

      Safety Online

      Staying safe online and erasing internet history

      • How can I clear my internet history so that my abuser doesn't know which websites I have accessed?
      • Everything you look at on the internet is stored in your computer's memory files.
      • If you are concerned that an abuser would be able to see which websites you have visited it is important that you clear your computer history. 
      • The safest way to find information on the internet if you suspect that you are being monitored would be at a local library, a trusted friend's house, or at work.  

      How to clear your internet history

      • In order to do clear your computer's history you must first establish which browser you are using.
      • The browser is the application (window) you use to access the internet, for example Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, AOL or Sky.

      Internet Explorer

      • Before following the steps to clear your history it may be useful to find out which version of Internet Explorer you are using. 
      • To find out which version of Explorer you have, press the Help button in the top of the browser. Choose about Internet Explorer and the resulting window will tell you which version you have.
      • Select Tools from the drop-down menu across the top-left of the browser window. Select Internet Options from this menu. A new, smaller window will open. In the middle of this window, in the Temporary Internet Files section, choose Delete Files. Make sure that the Delete all offline content box is checked and press OK. This deletes all cookies and stored graphics. 
      • If you have Explorer version 6.0 or later, cookies will need to be deleted separately, select Delete Cookies. When the window appears, press OK. (Users of Explorer 5.5 or earlier will not have this button). 
      • Then proceed to the History section and press the Clear History button. When the window appears, press Yes. Close the browser.

      Clear the Temporary Internet Files (or cache): 

      • Select Edit from the drop-down menu across the top-left of the browser window. 
      • Select Preferences from this menu. 
      • Select the Advanced button under Category. Click Cache. 

      When the window appears, click Clear Memory Cache and Clear Disk Cache. Close the window. 

      Clear History

      • Select Edit from the drop-down menu across the top-left of the browser window. 
      • Select Preferences from this menu. 
      • Select Navigator button under the Category listing. 
      • Select History listing. Click Clear History.

      Remove cookies:

      • Select Edit from the drop-down menu across the top-left of the browser window. 
      • Select Preferences from this menu. 
      • Select the Privacy and Security button under the Category listing. 
      • Select the Cookies listing. 
      • Select the View Stored Cookies button. 
      • Click the Remove All Cookies button.

      It is also important to recognise that following the above steps may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. 

       

      Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme: Clare's Law

      What is the Domestic Violence Disclosure scheme?

      The scheme is more commonly known as 'Clare's Law' and commemorates Clare Wood who was murdered by her violent ex-partner, George Appleton, at her Salford home in 2009.

      The case brought to national attention the issue of disclosing information about an individual's history of domestic violence to a new partner. Clare was unaware of Appleton's history of violence against women and following her death her family campaigned for a change in the law to support actual, and potential, victims of domestic violence.

      It aims to prevent men and women from becoming victims of domestic violence and abuse by providing a formal method of making enquiries about an individual who they are in a relationship with or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive towards their partner.

      The scheme works in two ways:

      Staffordshire Police is empowering potential victims of domestic abuse with the right to ask about their partner. In the past, it could have been difficult for someone entering a new relationship to find out or be aware if their partner had prior convictions for violence or domestic abuse.

      • Right to ask: Victims (potential and actual), third parties (parents, neighbours and friends) and agencies can all make requests under the scheme.
      • Right to know: The police make a proactive decision to disclose details when they receive information to suggest a person could be at risk.

      If police checks reveal the individual has a record for abusive offences or there is information to suggest a person is at risk, the police will give consideration to sharing this information with the person at risk or a person who is best placed to protect the potential victim.

      The scheme aims to help the potential victim make an informed decision on whether to continue a relationship, and provides further help and support to assist them when making that choice.

      How do I make an application?

      You can make an application by contacting the police in one of the following ways: