What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Domestic abuse can affect anyone. The majority of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women victims. However, men can also be victims of domestic abuse perpetrated by women. Domestic abuse can also occur in same-sex relationships. Domestic abuse cuts across age, class, wealth, employment status, religion and ethnicity.
It is different from other crimes, as the victim and perpetrator are known to each other and in some cases still love each other. This makes it much more likely that the crime will be committed over and over again, and makes it harder for the victim to contact the police.
Domestic abuse is not just physical violence. We now think of domestic abuse as a series or pattern of behaviour which lead to one partner having power and control of the other, and other family members.
Among many others, this behaviour may include:
- constant criticism
- constant questioning
- withholding money or other material things
- destroying belongings
- making threats
- being demanding.
There may never be any physical abuse in a relationship like this, but the result to the victim can be devastating. In the majority of families where there is domestic abuse, children are also victims. They get hurt by accident or the perpetrator may also deliberately harm them. Even if they are not physically hurt, they are always emotionally affected.
Home Office Information
You can download a Home Office leaflet about domestic violence and a National Report on Domestic Violence (2005) from the bottom of this page.
How does domestic abuse affect the community?
If you live near to a family where domestic abuse is an issue, you may notice noise and loud arguments coming from the home. You may also notice damage to the house, particularly doors and windows. You may notice that the children do not seem well cared for, or that they are out of the house, hanging around the street a lot. All of these things do not necessarily mean there is domestic abuse, but they may be the symptoms of the problem and should not be ignored.
What can you do as a friend or a neighbour?
All of the above may bother you, and it can be difficult to be sympathetic when you are experiencing problems as a result of someone else’s behaviour. But it is important not to blame the family who are going through a difficult time, as this can make the situation worse.
- If you know or suspect an incident is taking place, call the Police on 999.
- If you are worried about the wellbeing of children, you can call Basingstoke Children's Services Department on 01256 362000.
- Keep your own log of any incidents you see or hear, as this may help later if any Criminal Court, Civil Court, Child Protection or eviction proceedings take place.
Do not put yourself at risk, but if you feel it is safe to do so:
- Offer the victim some support, either a shoulder to cry on or a ‘listening ear’. Try not to offer advice unless you have looked thoroughly in to what is best for a victim of domestic abuse. Do not criticise the perpetrator as this may make the victim feel they cannot talk to you.
- Offer the victim the opportunity to store a few essential belongings with you, in case they decide to leave.
- Offer to gather some good quality information from the specialist agencies listed on this page.
- Offer to let them use your address for receiving information and messages.
Be aware and understanding if your offers of support are not accepted. Sometimes outside influences can put a victim more at risk.
If it is safe to do so, you could offer the perpetrator a ‘listening ear’, or the opportunity to take some ‘time out’ by coming to you. Only do this if you know the perpetrator well enough to know you are safe in their company when they are wound up.
Again, do not offer specific advice and do not collude in any of the perpetrator's blame or anger toward the victim. You could offer to help them get appropriate advice and support from one of the agencies listed below.
What can I do if I am a victim of domestic abuse?
- Arrange where you might go if you have to leave urgently.
- Find places where you can quickly and safely use the phone.
- Try to save money so that you have bus or taxi fares in an emergency.
- Get an extra set of keys for the house/car.
- Keep the keys, money and anything else you may need in a safe place, should you have to leave quickly.
- Talk to your children. Let them know it’s not their fault. Children do not have to see violence to be affected by it. They hear it, sense it and can be sad and frightened by it.
- Talk to friends, relatives, your doctor, nurse or others about how you feel.
Should you decide to leave home try to contact a specialist organisation such as one of those listed on this page first. They will be able to give you some advice on things you may not have thought of, most especially leaving safely.
- birth and marriage certificates
- school and medical records
- driving licence and car documents
- money, credit cards, cheque books
- passports, work permits, visa (if required)
- several days clothing
- personal possessions which have sentimental value
- children’s favourite toys.
Local and national organisations who can help
General Advice, Counselling and Support
24hr National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
Men's Advice Line & Enquiry (MALE) 0808 801 0327
Mankind Initiative (For male victims of domestic abuse) 01823 334244
Broken Rainbow (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender 08452 60 44 60
domestic violence service)
Karma Nirvana (Honour Based Violence or Forced 0800 5999 247
Victim Support / Victim Care Unit 08453 899528
Basingstoke Rape & Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre 01256 423810 (office)
01256 423890 (crisis line)
Relate (Counselling Service) 01256 324364
Taking Steps (Domestic Abuse Victim Support Group 07810 430689
based in Hook, for men and women)
Samaritans 01256 462333
Age Concern 01256 423874
Action on Elder Abuse (Aims to prevent abuse in old age) 0808 808 8141
Respect Phone Line (Information & advice for those who 0845 122 8609
are violent & abusive to their partners, for both men & women)
ADAPT (Self referral domestic abuse perpetrators 02380 213520
programme, for men, based in Hook)
Police and Legal Advice
Citizens Advice Bureau (Basingstoke) 0844 2451283
Citizens Advice Bureau (Tadley) 01189 817660
Basingstoke Police Domestic Abuse Officer 01256 405039
Rights of Women (General Legal Advice) 020 7251 6577
(Sexual Violence Legal Advice Line) 020 7251 8887
Hampshire Constabulary 0845 045 45 45
Community Legal Advice Helpline (Free & confidential 0845 345 4 345
advise service paid for by legal aid)
IN AN EMERGENCY ALWAYS DIAL 999
Housing and Refuge
Basingstoke & Deane Housing Department 01256 844844
Downland Housing Domestic Violence Outreach 01256 478888
& Sanctuary Scheme
Shelterline (The Housing & Homelessness Charity) 0808 800 4444
Advice on Children and Family Issues
Childline (Help for Children & Young People) 0800 1111
NSPCC Helpline (For anyone who needs advice, help or
information about concerns for a child's welfare) 0808 800 5000
Basingstoke Children's Services 0845 6035620
Basingstoke Education Welfare Locality Team 01256 362006
Turnaround Project (Support for Children & Young People 02380 213520
affected by domestic abuse aged 8-16)
U Talk (For young people who's parents are separating) 01256 324364
DOVE Programme - Family Group Conference 02380 696644 / 07901655666
Parentline Plus (To talk to someone confidentially about 0808 800 2222
parenting issues affecting you)
Home-Start (Support for families with one child under 5 yrs, 01256 812333
based in Basingstoke)
CAFCASS (Children & family court advisory support service) 0844 3531620
Advice on Health
Basingstoke Substance Misuse Service (NHS) 01256 818210
NHS Direct 24 hr Nurse Advice 0845 4647*
Community Midwife Team 01256 313327
Pregnancy Crisis Centre 01256 460100
North Hampshire Hospital 01256 473202
Alcohol Team (NHS) 01256 818210
Basingstoke and Deane Housing
Victim Support (HIoW)
Rights of Women
North Hampshire Hospital