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Domestic violence and abuse

Domestic violence and abuse is defined across Government as any incident 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 their gender or sexuality. This incorporates issues of concern to all communities such as “so called Honour based” crimes, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Click here to view the Cheshire East Safeguarding Adults Board Domestic Abuse Guidance.

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.

Domestic Violence and Abuse is a significant safeguarding and child protection issue.

High numbers of women and men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, Each year around 2.1m people suffer some form of domestic violence and abuse -  1.4 million women (8.5% of the population) and 700,000 men (4.5% of the population)

The impact of domestic violence and abuse on the individual affected and on children – even once they have achieved safety – is severe and long-lasting.

So called Honour-Based Abuse is a collection of practices used to control behaviour within families in order to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour.

Violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code. Women are predominantly (but not exclusively) the victims, which can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often, committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members and can lead to murder. Males can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of their involvement in what is deemed to be an inappropriate relationship, if they are gay, or if they are believed to be supporting the victim.

Honour based abuse cuts across all cultures, nationalities, faith groups and communities; usually where a culture is heavily male dominated. Relatives, including females, may conspire, aid, abet or participate in honour based abuse, for what might seem a trivial transgression.

Honour based abuse is a serious offence which can involve a number of crimes

  • Common assault
  • Domestic violence and abuse
  • Forced marriage
  • Cruelty to persons under 16 (including neglect and abandonment)
  • Failure to secure regular attendance at school of a registered pupil
  • Theft (e.g. passport)
  • Child abduction
  • Abduction of an unmarried girl under the age of 16 from parent or guardian
  • Abduction of a woman by force or for the sake of her property
  • Forced repatriation
  • Rape
  • Aiding and abetting a criminal offence
  • Kidnapping/False imprisonment
  • Murder

The warning signs of honour based abuse can include:

  • Extended absence from school/college, truancy, drop in performance, low motivation, excessive parental restriction and control of movements and history of siblings leaving education to marry early.
  • Poor attendance in the workplace, poor performance, parental control of income and limited career choices.
  • Evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse.
  • Evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home.

Forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of some people with learning disabilities or reduced capacity, cannot) consent to the marriage as they are pressurised, or abuse is used, to force them to do so. It should not be confused with an arranged marriage. Arranged marriages often work very well. Forced marriages are where one or both people are 'forced' into a marriage that their families want, without the valid consent of both people, where physical pressure or emotional abuse is used. Victims are sometimes persuaded to return to their country of origin under false pretences.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders have been introduced to protect victims from being forced into marriage. An order can also be made to protect someone who has already been forced into marriage, to help remove them from the situation. Those who fail to obey an order may be found in contempt of court and sent to prison for up to two years. It should be remembered cultural acceptance in some nationalities, does not mean accepting unacceptable practices and traditions.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) sometimes known as ‘female circumcision’ or ‘female genital cutting’ is illegal in the UK. FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. FGM is very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls. It can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth and mental health

Signs that FGM may have taken place on a child include;

  • a lengthy absence from school
  • having difficulty walking, sitting or standing
  • spending longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet
  • health problems including bladder and menstrual issues,
  • complaints about pain between their legs
  • behavioural changes
  • talking about being taken away for a special ceremony;
  • mentioning something that has happened to them which they are not allowed to talk about.

If you're affected by any type of domestic violence and abuse, listed above or know someone who is, and there's an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, call 999 now.

If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use the Police text phone service 18000 or text the police on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the Emergency SMS Service

In non-emergency cases and for general police advice, please call 101. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use the police text phone service on 18001 101.

If you are worried about someone being a victim of honour based abuse or being forced into a marriage contact the police on 101 or contact the Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Telephone: 020 7008 1500
From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 1500
Find out about call charges

Domestic Violence and Abuse Support Contact Details:

Agency Contact number Email contact Website link
Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Hub 0300 123 5101 (24 hours 7 days a week)

Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Hub

Cheshire West and Chester
Domestic Abuse Intervention and Prevention Service
0300 123 7047 option 2 (during office hours)
or the national 24 hour domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247

Cheshire West and Chester Council Domestic Abuse Page

Cheshire Without Abuse (CWA) 01270 250 391
LGBT Foundation
Free-of-charge counselling for LGBT people from Cheshire who have been victims of crime, including hate crime, domestic abuse and rape and sexual assault. Also provide support and advice via the helpline, and in one-to-one pop-ins)
0345 330 3030 (10am - 10pm Monday – Friday, 10am - 6pm Saturdays)
Confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and abuse
01823 334244 Weekdays 10am to 4pm

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
24-hours a day, for free and in confidence
0808 2000 247

So called Honour based Abuse and Forced Marriage:

Karma Nirvana
British human rights charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. Honour crimes are not determined by age, faith, gender or sexuality, we support and work with all victims. We operate a National helpline to support victims in immediate danger

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Helpline: 0800 5999 24/7
Female Genital Mutilation
There are a number of useful materials available on the FGM pages of the NHS Choices website. This includes a video of women talking about their personal experiences of FGM.
The NSPCC helpline (can support both professionals or family members concerned that a child is at risk of, or has had FGM.
0800 028 3550 Monday to Friday 8am – 10pm or 9am – 6pm at the weekends. It’s free and you don’t have to say who you are