Search Site

Domestic violence and abuse

Domestic abuse is a serious and complex issue. It is a crime that remains largely hidden behind closed doors, leaving victims feeling trapped, powerless and isolated - afraid to say anything in case it makes a bad situation worse.

Image of domestic abuse

However, abuse is rarely a one-off event.  For example, on average a victim will endure 30 - 35 assaults before seeking help.  The level of abuse is likely to increase over time and could even result in murder.

Experience suggests that friends, families and neighbours are often aware or suspect that something is happening but, for one reason or another, are reluctant to get involved - this is a mistake. Domestic abuse ruins family life and has long term, serious consequences for everyone concerned.

The 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.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

• 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.


Getting Help

If you or somebody you know needs confidential help or advice, call the West Mercia Women's Aid domestic abuse helpline:

0800 783 1359 in Herefordshire and Shropshire.
0800 980 3331 in Worcestershire

Help is also available from the following organisations which can be accessed via the links opposite:

  • National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) - providing legal assistance to obtain civil orders/injunctions
  • GALOP - supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence and abuse
  • Mankind - supporting male victims of domestic violence and abuse
  • Karma Nirvana - aiming to stop forced marriage and honour based violence
  • Refuge - a national domestic violence charity which provides specialist support to women and children who experience domestic violence. 

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) review into domestic abuse

In September 2013, the Home Secretary commissioned HMIC to conduct an inspection of all police forces and consider:

  • the effectiveness of the police approach to domestic violence and abuse, focusing on the outcomes for victims
  • whether risks to victims of domestic violence and abuse are adequately managed
  • identifying lessons learnt from how the police approach domestic violence and abuse
  • making any necessary recommendations in relation to these findings when considered alongside current practice

The HMIC reports for West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police can be found via the attached links.

As a result of the HMIC recommendations, a Domestic Abuse Delivery Plan has been created and can be viewed here.excel icon West Mercia Police domestic abuse delivery plan [119kb]