Domestic Abuse and Violence

What is domestic abuse?

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.

The definition includes so called 'honour’ based violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Forced Marriage.

Children and unborn babies may suffer both directly and indirectly if they live in households where there is domestic violence or abuse. Domestic Violence or Abuse is likely to have a damaging effect on their health and development.

Research indicates that other factors such as substance misuse and mental ill health may be more likely to be prevalent where domestic abuse is occurring. 

What should I do if I have concerns about a domestic abuse?

If you are concerned about domestic abuse you can find more information in the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Procedures.

Always discuss your concerns with the senior person in your organisation who is responsible for safeguarding and child protection.

If you are a young person, parent or carer, you can contact Children's Social Care to discuss your concerns.

Assessment Tools

The following tool should be used to assess and identify risks when there is domestic abuse or violence:

Domestic abuse of Pregnant Women

Research indicates that domestic abuse may start or get worse during pregnancy. It is extremely important that action is taken to safeguard both the mother and unborn baby. If you are working with a family where additional support may be needed during pregnancy the Multi-Agency Protocol for Pre-birth Assessments and Interventions can help.

If during the assessment concerns about domestic abuse emerge, you must discuss your concerns with the senior person in your organisation who is responsible for safeguarding and child protection.

Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences

Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) are held to safeguard the victims of high risk domestic abuse. More information about completing a risk assessment or the MARAC is available on the Safer Derbyshire website.

DASH Risk Identification checklist – is used by all agencies to help identify the level of risk to victims aged 16 and older to decide whether a MARAC is needed.

Domestic abuse support and training for practitioners

Information about the Derby domestic abuse services, including the Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocate Team is available on the Derby City Council website.

All Babies Count: protection and prevention for vulnerable babies

Research by the NSPCC sets out the evidence to examine:

  • the causes and consequences of infant abuse and neglect
  • and effective and promising interventions during pregnancy and the baby’s first year.

The report includes new analysis into the number of babies under 1 year who are affected by parental substance misuse, mental illness and domestic abuse which are all important risk factors for abuse and neglect.


The DSCB multi-agency training programme includes courses about:

  • Safeguarding children and domestic abuse, and
  • Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) training provided by the Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocate Team

National Resources

Safe Speak provide help for children and young people aged 5 - 10 years old and 11 - 18 years old with problems with family, friends, bullying and anything that is causing a worry. You can phone Safe Speak on 0800 093 5264 (free from landlines) or 01332 349301

Safelives - a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse for good.

Violence Against Women and Girls Insight pack - Home Office document developed to provide information about violence against women and girls.

Disrespect Nobody - Home Office campaign to help young people understand what a healthy relationship is and rethink views of controlling behaviour, violence, abuse, sexual abuse and consent.

Learning Resources on Coercive Control - Research in Practice (RIP) has launched a series of open access learning resources providing information and guidance to health and social care practitioners on how to recognise and respond to coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate or family relationships.