Domestic violence victims

The cross-government definition of Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) 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:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

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 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.”[1]

The Government definition which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnicity.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) 2012/13 found that, overall, 30% of women and 16.3% of men had experienced any domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures were equivalent to an estimated 4.9 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.7 million male victims

On average about seven women and two men are killed by their current or former partner every month in England and Wales (ONS 2012/13)

The relationship between the effects of domestic violence, physical and mental well-being is well documented. Psychological and physical effects of abuse can be felt for many years often with the continuation of psychological/mental health issues, chronic physical health problems as well familial and socioeconomic impacts.

Domestic violence is linked most closely to the following JSNA topics:


Alcohol misuse

Mental and behavioural disorders

[1] Home Office Definition – November 2013


Last updated: 2017-11-22 15:42:23
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1. What are the key issues?

In 2013/14, 2,207 incidents of domestic abuse in Redcar & Cleveland were reported to the police.

In 2013/14, the rate of incidents reported in Redcar and Cleveland was 16.3 (per 1000 population).

In 2013/14, 37% of domestic abuse incidents in Redcar & Cleveland involved a repeat victim.

In 2013/14, alcohol was present in 15% of all reported domestic abuse incidents in Redcar & Cleveland.

In 2013/14, 11.4% of all domestic abuse crime victims in Redcar & Cleveland were women aged 45 or over.

There are currently around 140 cases discussed at MARAC annually. The majority of these are women.

Last updated: 21/08/15

2. What commissioning priorities are recommended?


Develop a commissioning model for domestic and sexual violence services. This is to ensure provision of services meeting local needs, improvement in co-ordination between services ensuring value for money – progress abandoned


Create a co-ordinated service for domestic and sexual violence, which will support the entire family. This should include specialist workers to support victims, children and perpetrators, who will work together to meet the family’s needs and have close working relationships with other contributory services, such as the police, local authority, health services and the voluntary sector – progress partial, priorities have been reviewed 2014/2015.


Undertake a robust evaluation and review of existing provision and contracts.


Develop a cross-agency commissioning model and commissioning cycle via the “Reducing Domestic Abuse Partnership”.


Embark on cross-agency commissioning of a suite of domestic abuse services that includes:

  • Refuge;
  • Early identification i.e. within Primary Care services;
  • Sanctuary scheme (homeless prevention);
  • Support services for children and young people affected by domestic abuse;
  • An effective perpetrator programme alongside women’s safety work;
  • Awareness and support programmes to help victims identify abuse and protect themselves (freedom, expect respect, campaigns such as “White Ribbon”, up to date and readily available information, advice and guidance);
  • Independent domestic violence advocate; and
  • Therapeutic family work.


Use bespoke commissioning approaches that best meet the needs/expected outcomes of individuals e.g. payment by results.

Last updated: 21/08/15

3. Who is at risk and why?


Women are much more likely than men to experience domestic abuse. Analysis of 10 separate prevalence studies has shown that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence over their lifetimes. [1]

Women are also more likely than men to be the victim of multiple incidents of abuse. 32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more) times, compared with 11% of men. Women constitute 89% of all those who have experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence.


Younger women

Younger women under the age of 30 years old are shown to be most at risk of domestic violence, with those aged between 16-19 at greater risk (10.1% of respondents to the BCS), closely followed by the 20–24 year old age group (9.2% of respondents). [2]

Children and young people

Domestic violence is also a child protection issue. Children can experience abuse both directly and indirectly.  On a national basis the Home Office estimate that three quarters of a million children witness domestic abuse every year and that three quarters of children living with a child protection plan live in households where domestic violence occurs. [7]

Domestic violence can have an impact upon a child’s emotional, behavioural and cognitive development. Its effects can include anxiety, fear, withdrawal, highly sexualised and aggressive behaviour, reduced educational attainment, failure to acquire social competence, anti-social behaviour and also in some cases the use of substances. [8]

Older people

Older people may become more vulnerable and therefore more dependent on others for help and support. As with domestic violence and abuse, elder abuse can present in several different forms including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation and neglect – whether intentional or not.


Research shows that 30% of domestic violence starts or escalates during pregnancy. With the same study showing that domestic violence has been identified as a prime cause of miscarriage, or still birth and of maternal deaths in childbirth. [3]

A further study into women receiving antenatal and postnatal care to examine the prevalence of domestic violence and its associations with obstetric complications and psychological health, found that 23% of women involved had a lifetime experience of domestic violence, and 3% had experienced violence in the current pregnancy. These figures are recognised as underestimates due to the sensitive nature and reporting of abuse.  [4]


Women who separate from their partner are at a much higher risk of domestic violence than women in other marital circumstances. The BCS study found that 22% of separated women were assaulted in the previous year by their partners or ex partners.

Socioeconomic factors

People living in poor and financially insecure households are more likely to suffer from domestic violence. Domestic violence can also lead to poverty as it often creates instability, difficulties in maintaining employment and increases in ill health. As abuse is also found in households that are financially better off.


There is no significant difference in the risk of domestic violence by ethnicity reported in the BCS. However women from ethnic minorities may have greater difficulties in accessing services due to language, inter-generational issues, and cultural differences. [5]


National research shows that women with a disability are twice as likely to experience abuse as women living without a disability. Issues facing disabled women can make it harder for them to access support. They may be more physically vulnerable and socially isolated than other women relying heavily on the abuser for basic care needs and access to the wider community. [6]


Perpetrators of domestic violence are often still a part of the family. Perpetrators of violence frequently have complex needs, and behaviours, which can include mental health issues, substance misuse issues, self-harm, and offending behaviour. 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT)

Domestic abuse and violence is a considerable problem for members of the LGBT community. People in this group can be reluctant to seek help for fear of homophobia and may be unable to turn to family or friends for support if they are not ‘out’ about their sexuality.  This can leave such people who suffer from domestic violence especially isolated and at risk of further abuse.

Last updated: 31/08/12

4. What is the level of need in the population?


  • It is estimated that around 1.2 million women (7%) suffer domestic abuse each year, as well as 700,000 men (4%).
  • 1-in-4 women experience domestic abuse, as do 1-in-6 men.
  • Every third victim of domestic abuse is a man.
  • 9% of all reported violent crimes are domestic abuse cases involving male victims.
  • Practically the same percentages of men as women are victims of severe acts of domestic abuse.
  • 1-in-4 young people, aged 10 to 24, report that they have experienced domestic abuse during their childhood.
  • Domestic violence equates to approximately 25% of all reported violent offences.
  • Domestic abuse accounts for 14.1(per 1000 population) of all incidents.
  • 96% of all referrals to MARAC were women.
  • Regarding cases referred to the CPS, approximately 74% of defendants were convicted. 93% of all defendants were men, while 84% of all victims were women.
  • On average, the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds.
  • On average, two women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.

Redcar and Cleveland

In 2013/14, 2207 incidents of domestic abuse in Redcar & Cleveland were reported to the police.

In 2013/14, the rate of incidents reported in Redcar and Cleveland was 16.3 (per 1000 population).

In 2013/14, 37% of domestic abuse incidents in Redcar & Cleveland involved a repeat victim.

In 2013/14, alcohol was present in 15% of all reported domestic abuse incidents in Redcar & Cleveland.

In 2013/14, 11.4% of all domestic abuse crime victims in Redcar & Cleveland were women aged 45 or over.

There are currently around 140 cases discussed at MARAC annually. The majority of these are women.

Last updated: 21/08/15

5. What services are currently provided?

Prevention and Early Intervention
Freedom Programme: an educative programme for victims and those vulnerable to abuse to understand the warning signs that can lead to domestic abuse.

Fit Kit programme: an educative programme for perpetrators of domestic abuse, for low-risk clients as an early intervention.

Early Identification and Referral Worker: trains health staff to recognise or ask the question about domestic abuse in primary care. Training encourages referrals to workers for information, advice and guidance.

Healthy relationships education: targeted youth work in schools with teenagers to identify warning signs of abusive behaviour and model appropriate relationships with teenagers.

Support for victims and their children
Refuge: 12 unit accommodation for women and families fleeing domestic abuse.

Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA): specialist support for medium/high risk cases of abuse to support within the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and court processes, as well as emotional and practical support to escape abuse.

Navigator: specialist floating support for women at risk of homelessness who also have complex needs due to mental illness, substance use or from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups.

BME Refuge: a safe place for women fleeing honour-based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic abuse for victims from BME background across Durham, Darlington and Cleveland.

Sanctuary: a scheme to make practical adaptations to a victim’s home to make secure and allow victim to stay in their own home, preventing homelessness.

Children’s therapeutic service: therapeutic support and safety planning for children affected by domestic abuse.

Older women’s refuge provision: a safe house for women over 45 at risk or fleeing abuse.


Last updated: 22/11/17

6. What is the projected level of need?

It is difficult to predict the true prevalence of domestic violence, due to the difficulties in obtaining reliable information and the recognised levels of under-reporting. 

Domestic violence is not reducing at the same rate as other types of violent crime. There is the possibility for domestic violence to increase in the forthcoming year as many families struggle financially in the current economic climate.

Due to increased awareness of domestic abuse, the effects of DA on children and a reduction in age limits at MARAC, there may be a significant increase of level of need for early intervention and education to break the cycle of DA.

Last updated: 21/08/15

7. What needs might be unmet?

The biggest issue with domestic abuse is that the true prevalence remains unknown due to under-reporting, the data available is not always collated at a single point and analysis of the data is necessary to target resources.

Refuge – a place of safety for women and children fleeing Domestic Abuse currently has a high demand from users in Redcar & Cleveland and across Tees Valley.

Early Identification within Primary Care services requires a co-ordinated approach as reporting/referral from these services is low.

There are no clear pathways for the type of support that ensure as many children and young people affected by domestic abuse are supported appropriately.

There is a need for an effective and well-used perpetrator programme alongside women’s safety work for perpetrators not in Criminal Justice System, Referrals and uptake for the current service is low and funding is ad-hoc.

More awareness and support programmes is required to help victims identify abuse and protect themselves (Freedom, expect respect, campaigns such as White Ribbon, up to date and readily available information, advice and guidance), a co-ordinated approach to prevention and early intervention for victims is required.

Independent Domestic Violence Advocates are required to support victims with legal issues.

There is no current provision to work with a whole family to support with the impact of domestic abuse.

There appears to be an increasing number of referrals to Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC), which are not reported to the Police. Whilst it is good that the victims are getting the support they need, it also means that the perpetrators are not being held to account and could go on to commit further domestic abuse offences.

Home Office research shows that alcohol had been consumed prior to the offence in 73% of domestic violence cases and was a “feature” in 62%.  Almost half (48%) of convicted domestic violence offenders were alcohol-dependent. Locally this information is not collected in a robust way.

There is a need for a forum across agencies and boundaries to enable integrated commissioning to eliminate the inconsistency in support for victims of sexual violence across Tees Valley.

More domestic abuse prosecutions fail to achieve a conviction in Cleveland than in any other part of the country.

There is a need for an awareness campaign for domestic abuse in Redcar and Cleveland following the changes in the ACPO definition of abuse inclusive of all minority groups.

Last updated: 21/08/15

8. What evidence is there for effective intervention?

NICE (2014) Domestic violence and abuse: how health services, social care and the organisations they work with can respond effectively

AVA Project (2014) Community Co-ordinated Response Model (Home Office Endorsed Toolkit)

CAADA (2012) MARAC Development Programme (Home Office Endorsed Programme)

Durham University (2010) Briefing note 1: Domestic Abuse perpetrator programmes: What counts as success?

Communities and Local Government (2010) The Effectiveness of schemes to Enable Households at Risk of Domestic Abuse to Remain within their own homes.

Home Office (2009) Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls: a Strategy

Crisis (2006) Homeless women: Still being failed but struggling to survive

Hester M et al (2006) Domestic Abuse Perpetrators: identifying needs to inform early intervention.

Walby, Sylvia and Johnathan Allen (2004) Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey. Home Office Research Study 276. Home Office: London.

Debra and Kenny, Dora (2002) The Provision of Accommodation and Support for Households Experiencing Domestic Violence in England. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Last updated: 21/08/15

9. What do people say?

National research (Department of Health, 2010) shows that women think that the health services (health visitors, GPs, hospitals, dentists, sexual health services, practice nurses) have a vital role in early identification and response to violence, particularly for those who are isolated and therefore more vulnerable. They also felt that the health services should have a key role in supporting and safeguarding women and children, particularly some groups of women who might have difficulty in communicating with them: older women, women with learning disabilities or mental health issues, and women with language barriers, particularly if dependent on violent partners for translation.

In 2011/12, 7.3% of women (1.2 million) and 5% of men (800,000) who were surveyed as part of the British Crime Survey reported having experienced domestic abuse.

The data collated from the British Crime Survey between 2004-2013 (now the Crime Survey for England and Wales) has consistently shown that victims of domestic abuse were more likely to experience repeat victimisation than victims of other types of crime.

The 2012/13 CSEW self-completion module on intimate violence, which is asked of adults aged 16 to 59 years old, included a special focus on the nature of partner abuse and 4.4% of men surveyed reported having experienced any type of domestic abuse in the last year.

Last updated: 21/08/15

10. What additional needs assessment is required?

Analysis/evidence from service users regarding what barriers there are in reporting domestic abuse and who is at risk and why to inform commissioning and pathways.

Data analysis of referrals received in Children’s Access Team for domestic abuse incidents where children and young people are involved.

Number children and young placed into care due to domestic abuse and the cost implications.

Last updated: 21/08/15

Key Contact

Name: Andrea Laverick

Job title: Vulnerable, Exploited, Missing & Trafficked (VEMT) & Domestic Abuse (DA) Coordinator


Phone number: 01642 304500 ext 7884