Skip to content
Black and white image of hand held up in defensive position

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse support and information services in Derbyshire.

What domestic abuse is

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, for the first time, creates a statutory definition of domestic abuse, which is:

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. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • psychological / emotional – for example victim-blaming, name-calling, belittling
  • physical – for example hurting or threatening to hurt physically
  • sexual – for example forced to take part in unwanted, unsafe or degrading activity
  • economic – for example restricting finances / access to work, getting a victim into debt
  • coercive control – for example isolating, monitoring, threats, humiliation"

The act also recognises the impact of domestic abuse on those who are ‘personally connected’ and defines what is meant by this as:

“…intimate partners, ex-partners, family members or individuals who share parental responsibility for a child.”

There is no requirement for the victim and perpetrator to live in the same household. Also, for the first time, the Domestic Abuse Act recognises that a child who sees or hears, or experiences the effects of, domestic abuse and is related to the person being abused or the perpetrator is also to be regarded as a victim of domestic abuse.

Signs of domestic abuse

It is important to recognise the signs of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident but a pattern of behaviour by the abuser, to maintain control over another person with whom they have, or have had, an intimate or family relationship. It can happen at any point in a relationship, including after it has ended. Along with recognising abuse, it is important to acknowledge that anyone can be a victim, regardless of their gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic status, intellectual ability or background.

Hidden harms animation

Abuse can occur at any age and is often under reported when it related to adults over the age of 65. Safeguarding often considers “carer’s stress” when incidents occur, and while one-off events do happen, it needs to be explored to see if there are any patterns or history. Based on the power and control wheel as adapted by Dewis Choice, the aim of this short animation is to help support practitioners and families start a conversation with an older adult.

We know from research that this is a very sensitive topic to talk about. Older adults may be more reluctant to talk about problems at home due to experiential, cultural, and social factors, and this combined with ageing and subsequent care needs leaves them vulnerable to having domestic abuse overlooked

The Hidden harms animation has been co-created by survivors aged between 60 and 93 years old from Dewis Choice, who are now in recovery and living free from harm, fear and abuse. Talking to someone about the behaviour will not mean having to make decisions you are not ready for, but it will create options to help you get the support you need to feel safer and happier.

We would like to thank Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board for granting permission to adapt this animation for Derbyshire and Derby Safeguarding Adults Boards and Derbyshire and Derby City Safer Communities Boards.

Types of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse covers a range of abuse types, including, but not limited to, psychological, emotional, physical, sexual, financial/economic, online/digital abuse. The cumulative and interlinked types of abuse that often occur can have a particularly damaging effect on the victim.

Help for those experiencing domestic abuse

In Derbyshire, there is one helpline number to call if someone is experiencing domestic abuse. The Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline is facilitated by The Elm Foundation. To report or discuss domestic abuse, please contact:

Deaf and hard of hearing people can text 07534 617252.

The Elm Foundation provides a live chat facility on Monday to Friday from 8am to 10pm (currently). Outside of these hours the service will send an email, with a follow-up response provided as soon as possible.

The Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline offers advice and support to victims, their friends or family, professionals and other agencies dealing with domestic abuse issues in Derbyshire. The helpline is available to listen, talk, advise and refer those experiencing domestic abuse to the most appropriate support service for them. The telephone service is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, with overnight calls and those made at weekends or bank holidays being answered by Call Derbyshire. 

In Derbyshire, local domestic abuse support (offered by a variety of providers) includes safe accommodation, community outreach, specialist support for children and young people, counselling, and therapeutic services.

Who to call in a domestic abuse emergency situation

In an emergency, or if anyone is in any immediate danger, always tel: 999.

Getting urgent police help through 999 but you can’t speak

If 999 is dialled from a mobile phone but it is not safe to speak, Silent Solution is the system that the police use to assess and respond to a call. Silent Solution enables a 999 mobile caller, who is unable to make a noise or speak, to press 55 (when prompted) to inform the police that they are in a genuine emergency. Accidental 999 calls from a landline are less likely, so if the caller is unable to speak when 999 is dialled from a landline, they will be connected to the police without being asked to enter 55.

Please see the Silent Solution document attached to this page.

Make yourself heard.

In danger, need the police, but can't speak?

  • Dial 999 and stay on the line.
  • Listen to the questions from the 999 operator.
  • Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can.
  • If prompted, press 55. This lets the operator know that it's a genuine emergency and you'll be put through to the police.

There are campaigns using the hashtags:

  • #MakeYourselfHeard
  • #SilentSolution
  • #YouAreNotAlone

If you are deaf or can’t communicate verbally

People can register with the emergencySMS service. Text REGISTER to 999. A text will then be sent with instructions on what to do next. This should be done when it is safe so that the emergency services can be reached via text when someone is actually in danger.

Referral process for professionals who are supporting victims of domestic abuse

Professionals providing support to a victim of domestic abuse should consult the domestic abuse referral guide attached to this page). The referral forms are for professionals to complete. If you need advice, as outlined previously, please call The Elm Foundation helpline tel: 08000 198 668.

Useful documents and links

SAIL, the Sexual Abuse and Incest Line (based in Chesterfield) offers free, specialist counselling for adults aged 18 and over in Derbyshire who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, incest or sexual violence.

Salcare is a charity - a 'one-stop shop' providing support for the people of Amber Valley and Erewash. Salcare helps anyone in need, including those outside of the Amber Valley and Erewash boundaries. Salcare ESCAPE provides support for all victims of domestic abuse regardless of gender or community. ESCAPE works with other agencies to support families to make the changes they need so that they are safe. They also have an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) who can work with those who are at high risk of significant harm.

Crossroads Derbyshire offer a range of confidential support and advisory services to women, men, children and young people suffering the damaging effects of domestic abuse including:

  • refuge for young women and children needing a safe place to stay
  • outreach services for women and men
  • community programmes for young people
  • counselling for women and men
  • specialist services for children

SV2 is a charity commissioned by NHS England, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council to provide the County’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) service. This service includes forensic medical examinations, crisis worker support, Advice Line and support from Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs).

Respect is a pioneering UK domestic abuse organisation leading the development of safe, effective work with perpetrators, male victims and young people using violence in their close relationships.

Refuge provides the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which provides free advice 24 hours per day. They also offer a live chat facility Monday to Friday from 3pm until 6pm. In fleeing domestic abuse, people may need to access specialist refuge accommodation. The helpline can help find a refuge vacancy. They can also provide support to find other specialist services in the community, which can provide support whether or not someone has left their partner.

The Home Office leaflet Three steps to escaping domestic violence has been published to support victims in escaping domestic abuse and keeping safe. It's available in 12 languages.

The Survivor’s Handbook, produced by Women’s Aid, provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with simple guidance on every aspect of seeking support. An abbreviated version is available in other languages.

Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline, email and webchat service for male victims of domestic abuse. They offer advice and emotional support to men who experience abuse, and signpost to other vital services that help men keep themselves (and their children) safe.

Galop provides a National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender + (LGBT+) Domestic Abuse Helpline, which offers emotional and practical support for LGBT+people experiencing domestic abuse.

Safe Lives is a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.

Karma Nirvana is a national charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage run a national helpline offering direct support and guidance to victims and professionals. Karma Nirvana provides training to the Police, NHS and Social Services. We act as expert witnesses in court, speak out in schools and attend awareness raising events nationally and internationally. In addition, our team lobby government and after 10 years of campaigning, forced marriage became a criminal offence in 2014.

Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) is the only UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it.

Bright Sky app

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with Boots UK, Superdrug pharmacies, Morrisons pharmacies and independent pharmacies that have signed up to the Safe Spaces scheme, to facilitate their pharmacy consultancy rooms as a Safe Space for victims of domestic abuse during COVID-19.

Online platforms are increasingly used to perpetrate domestic abuse. Online or digital domestic abuse or tech abuse can include behaviours such as monitoring of social media profiles or emails, abuse over social media such as Facebook or Twitter, sharing intimate photos or videos without your consent, using GPs locators or spyware. Women’s Aid has lots of useful information about how to stay safe online and how to cover your tracks online. There are also technology safety tips available and Refuge provides a tech abuse and empowerment service.

The government acknowledges that coronavirus (COVID-19) household isolation instructions can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Household isolation instructions as a result of coronavirus do not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.