Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can be defined as:

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.

Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.

Domestic abuse can be:

  • controlling or coercive behaviour
  • psychological abuse
  • economic abuse
  • physical or sexual abuse

Domestic abuse can affect anyone and it is rarely an isolated event.

Abuse doesn't have to be physical and can include a range of behaviours. It may involve a process of isolating you from family and friends. There are likely to be unwritten rules which, if broken, can result in consequences and this will create a sense of fear which is how the power and control is maintained.

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Do you need help, or know anyone who does?

If you are in a violent or abusive relationship or if you know or are supporting somebody in that situation, never suffer in silence, help is available. There are services that can help you better understand what is happening to you, they will be able to offer advice on staying safe, provide practical support and help you to work through any decisions you want to make.  It is important to know you are not alone.

If you are escaping domestic abuse you may want to leave your home, even if this is a temporary move, or you may want your partner to leave your home. We can help you to avoid homelessness in these circumstances. Advice | Housing Advice | Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils (

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have their own Domestic Abuse Link Worker who primarily supports individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless due to domestic abuse. You will be offered a referral to this dedicated resource when you make contact with the housing service.

Next steps

Leave when it is safe to do so. Leaving is a process, during the time following separation, the risk to you (and your children) is at its highest. If you are thinking of leaving it is important that you have a plan and some support to keep yourself safe. Speak to someone about what is going on and consider getting support from a specialist agency who can offer advice on the best ways to leave safely and how you can stay safe post-separation. 

Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline

Phone the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 977 5690. This is a freephone number that answers calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In an emergency call the Police by dialling 999, they will respond, investigate and assist you. If speaking or making an immediate sound would put you in danger and you need immediate help, call 999 and stay on the line, then press 55 when prompted and the call will be transferred to the police, who will know it is an emergency call.

For non-emergency call 101.

Clare’s Law

People with concerns about their partner’s history are able to request background information from Suffolk police.

The aim of this scheme is to give you a formal mechanism to make inquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past.

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