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Domestic violence & abuse

Northumbria Police has made protecting vulnerable people from abuse and exploitation its number one priority, over recent years. We are one of the leading forces in the country for combating domestic violence and have developed a number initiatives, including having independent domestic violence workers accompanying officers on patrol.

We are at the forefront of a multi-force transformation project which aims to provide a better service to victims and bring agencies together to offer support from the first point of contact.

If you suspect someone you know is suffering emotional or physical DOMESTIC ABUSE call 0800 066 5555 for independent and confidential advice.

How Northumbria Police can help

If you are in immediate danger phone 999.

FAQ

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a crime in which the abuser seeks power and control over their victim and can affect women, men and children. It includes any threatening or controlling behaviour such as psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. It can affect anybody, regardless of gender, age, race, sexuality or social background. It is not acceptable in any circumstance.

Emotional abuse and coercive control

Emotional or psychological abuse can be either verbal or nonverbal.

This kind of domestic abuse chips away at the confidence and independence of the victim to make them compliant and limit their ability to leave their abuser. Emotional abuse can include verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming and shaming, isolation, intimidation, threats of violence and controlling behaviour.

Physical

Physical abuse comes in many forms and can include punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning and strangling.

Sexual

Rape and sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships. This is because the victim’s right to consent is likely to be ignored.

Any situation where someone is forced to take part in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse.

Financial

Economic or financial abuse limits the victim’s ability to get help. The abuser controls finances; withholds money or credit cards; makes someone unreasonably account for the money they spend; exploits assets; withholds basic necessities; prevents someone from working and deliberately runs up debts. It can also involve the abuser forcing someone to work against their will or sabotaging the victim’s job.

The results of domestic abuse can be horrific: from loss of self-confidence and cuts and bruises to complete mental breakdowns and, in the worst cases, murder.

How can we make you safe?

Making you safe

The police’s first priority is to protect you and your children. Police officers will come to you and take whatever action is needed to make you safe.

Officers will attend and make sure you can speak in confidence about what is happening and any previous incidents, without your abuser being around.

Interpreters are available when needed. Where possible they will be the same sex as the victim and officers will make sure the interpreter is not connected to the family of the victim or offender.

Taking appropriate action

Officers will take appropriate action at the scene of an incident, including arresting offenders where appropriate.

Those who are arrested will be interviewed and could be charged, remanded in custody or given bail with stringent conditions.

The victim’s opinions will be listened to.

What will happen to the perpetrator?

If you’re an abuser, you should know Northumbria Police will take action against you and if you commit a criminal offence you can be arrested, even if your victim does not want you to be arrested.

Once arrested you’ll be taken to a police station where you’ll be interviewed and could be charged.  You might be given bail conditions which will restrict your activity, for example that you don’t return to your victim’s home. If you break these conditions you could be kept in custody until your court appearance.

Officers will collect evidence at the crime scene, take witness statements, photograph injuries, obtain forensic evidence and use CCTV footage. They can also use their own notes as evidence in court.  Your victim’s past medical records and history of previous incidents can also be used in court.

Northumbria Police will do everything in its power to build the best possible case against you in court.

If you’re an abuser or have abused in the past and recognise you need help to change your behaviour, you can get help. To change your abusive behaviour call 0808 802 4040.

How can I hide my visits to websites?

You might be worried your abuser will find out you have visited domestic abuse web pages. If you are afraid of this, please read the following information which explains what you can do to increase your safety when using the internet.

The safest way to search for information on the internet is away from home - at a local library, a trusted friend's house or where you work.

It is possible for your abuser to find out which websites you have visited just by looking at your computer's history or cache file, which automatically saves web pages you’ve visited.

But you can prevent this from happening by clearing your history and emptying your cache file.

How can I prevent my abuser accessing my emails?

Your abuser might be able to access your email account and if they can they will be able to see your incoming and outgoing mail.

To make sure your account is secure and to prevent your abuser doing this, set up an email account with a password your abuser cannot guess.

If your abuser knows your email address and sends you threatening or harassing emails, do not delete them, they can be printed and saved as evidence of abuse.

Domestic abuse action plan

View our domestic abuse action plan

Domestic Abuse Action Plan 2018

On 14 November 2017 a progress report was published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in relation to the police response to domestic abuse.  HMICFRS highlighted six Areas for Improvement (AFIs) nationally and their recommendations included a commitment that every police force in England and Wales should establish and publish an action plan that specifies in detail what steps it will take to improve its approach to domestic abuse.

As a strategic priority for the force and the Police and Crime Commissioner, HMICFRS found that tackling domestic abuse is a clear priority for Northumbria Police and this is recognised by officers and staff throughout the organisation.

However, the force recognises the need for continual improvement and therefore Northumbria Police Safeguarding Department owns this plan and various individuals have responsibility for ensuring that the actions are met within the timescales provided.

We, as a force, will continue to develop our approach with innovative thinking and will work with our Police and Crime Commissioner, partner agencies and victim specialists to ensure that we can make a genuine difference to those victims and their families whose lives are blighted by Domestic Abuse.

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