Domestic abuse and children

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The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is: 

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

Many people think that domestic abuse is about intimate partners, but it is clear that other family members are included and that much safeguarding work that occurs at home, is in fact concerned with domestic abuse.

Domestic violence or abuse

Domestic Abuse includes 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. It also includes so called ‘honour’ - based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.  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. 

This 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 ethnic group. 

Coercive or controlling behaviour is a core part of domestic violence. Coercive behaviour can include:

  • acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation
  • harming, punishing, or frightening the person
  • isolating the person from sources of support
  • exploitation of resources or money
  • preventing the person from escaping abuse
  • regulating everyday behaviour.

Possible indicators of domestic violence or abuse

  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling that the abuse is their fault when it is not
  • Physical evidence of violence such as bruising, cuts, broken bones
  • Verbal abuse and humiliation in front of others
  • Fear of outside intervention
  • Damage to home or property
  • Isolation – not seeing friends and family
  • Limited access to money

From time to time ADASS produces substantial documents, usually but not necessarily through its Policy Networks, establishing fundamental policy lines on discrete areas of  work. These publications, usually prepared or otherwise commissioned by serving directors, are influential both in helping central and local government develop their own policy lines, and in setting a benchmark against which other organisations can test their own ideas. Adass Policy Documents can provide guidance.

Non-fatal strangulation

We have created a series of short videos with Dr Catherine White which tells you about the research conducted by St Mary’s SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) in to Non Fatal Strangulation.

These videos focus on

  • What the SARC does
  • The research on strangulation
  • The signs and symptoms
  • The key messages to professionals
  • The Law on strangulation.

Click here to access these videosthe research document is also available.

Tools for assessing domestic violence and abuse

Domestic Violence Risk Identification Checklist (RIC or DASH) – tool to help identify adult victims of domestic violence and abuse. If the DASH indicates that the victim is at high risk of harm a referral to MARAC must be made initiating the IDVA pathway -

When would you use it?

  • “A woman seems to be being stalked by her ex-partner. It appears he has been harassing her and there are domestic abuse concerns – does he pose a risk to her?”
  • There is evidence of potential domestic abuse within a household, is it significant?

What is it?

  • The purpose of the Dash risk checklist is to give a consistent and simple tool for practitioners who work with adult victims of domestic abuse in order to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm and whose cases should be referred to a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) meeting in order to manage their risk. The score provides evidence required to refer to Family Safety Unit.
  • Whilst domestic abuse is most often perpetrated by men towards women in an intimate relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, this checklist can also be used for lesbian, gay, bisexual relationships and for situations of ‘honour’-based violence or family violence

DASH Risk Assessment and Guidance describes how to carry out the assessment.

Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) – support for victims

A MARAC is a multi-agency meeting which has the safety of high risk victims of domestic abuse as its focus. It involves the participation of all the key statutory and voluntary agencies who may be involved in supporting a person experiencing domestic abuse.

Support is most frequently provided by the Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) based within TDAS. The IDVA is a specialist advisor who has received accredited training to work with high risk victims of domestic abuse from the point of crisis. 

The MARAC will identify “high risk” victims/survivors of domestic violence, and will offer professional support and guidance, which will reduce the threat of further harm and repeated domestic violence to the victim/survivor and their immediate family members. 

Referral – All partner agencies have a designated point of contact for the  MARAC. Where domestic abuse is disclosed or suspected the point of contact in each agency will follow the Domestic Abuse referral pathway to ensure appropriate action is taken to safeguard individuals and refer into MARAC.

Multi-agency Statutory Guidance on FGM has been published by the Government. 

Further information on the MARAC process is available here.

Contacts within Trafford

The Domestic Abuse service in Trafford is provided by TDAS.

To make an enquiry under Clare's Law (Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme) visit the Greater Manchester Police website. Clare’s Law gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.

TDAS offer advice, refuge and accommodation, floating support, an IDVA service and a number of programmes for victims of domestic abuse. Their phone number is 0161 872 7368. The email is or you can text 07534 066 029. The Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse helpline is 0161 636 7527 and the national Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 200 0247. For silent calls to the police, dial 999 then 55.

Talk, Listen, Change offers support to children and young people, individuals, couples and families and friends helping them to improve their relationships, their services include counselling, family counselling, male and female DA perpetrator courses and support for partners / ex-partners and children impacted by DA

Additionally, for perpetrators of DA there is a RESPECT helpline to access support 0808 802 4040. Their website is also available.

Trafford Rape Crisis offer free confidential and non-judgemental support service run by women for women and girls who have experienced rape, sexual abuse or sexual violence. Their general enquiries are available on 0161 968 2829 or via email. Their helpline number is 0800 783 4608 and can again be contacted by email.

Blusci at Broomwood Community Wellbeing Centre have drop-in sessions on a Wednesday 1-3 where anyone can come along to access advice and support on DA.

Other contacts

Safe Lives are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good.  They combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving coordinated support annually.

No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop. Every year, nearly two million people experience domestic abuse. For every person being abused, there is someone else responsible for that abuse: the perpetrator. All too often, children are in the home and living with the impact. Domestic abuse affects us all; it thrives on being hidden behind closed doors. We must make it everybody’s business.

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