In an emergency always dial 999
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Domestic abuse is – ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.’ It can include harassment, stalking, forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation.
The definition applies to any person aged 16 years and over, and family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step family.
Domestic abuse occurs across all of society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth or geography.
Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event and controlling and abusive behaviour may be on-going. This chain of events needs to be broken. There are many services available to help break the chain. Details of some organisations that are working to achieve this are listed below.
Who can use these services
Somerset’s domestic abuse services are open to anyone who needs specialist support. It’s important to remember that couples counselling is not recommended and could be dangerous. Instead it’s always best to speak to a specialist service, such as Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS) or Victim Support.
What you can do if you think it is happening to a friend
For people suffering domestic abuse, the support of a trusted friend can be invaluable. It is important that the person knows you believe them and that they are not alone. Try not to judge or blame either party. Encourage your friend to contact one of the agencies who can help. If you witness an assault, phone the police. Do not intervene physically.
The police take domestic abuse very seriously and they have powers to act.
As well as the police, there are specialist organisations which offer support and practical advice. Their services are confidential, and in many cases, completely free. Useful numbers are available in the ‘Links to other services’ section of the Somerset Survivors website.
In an emergency always dial 999
Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Services (SIDAS)
The support line 0800 694 9999 is a single point of contact for confidential advice and support to any person concerned about domestic abuse in the Avon and Somerset area.
To speak to a SIDAS worker, phone the local support helpline (0800 694 9999) and select the option for Somerset. If no one can answer your call, leave a number and a safe time to call and they will get back to you.
For more information and to find out what services are available, please visit the Somerset Survivors website.
The Somerset Survivors website provides information, help and support for anyone affected by domestic abuse in Somerset, including a directory of local and national services.
National Centre for Domestic Violence
NCDV provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation.
National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 200 0247
The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is for women experiencing physical, emotional or sexual violence in the home. The helpline is a member of Language Line and can provide access to an interpreter for non-English speaking callers. The helpline can also access the BT Type Talk Service for deaf callers. They provide advice, information and support. Callers can be referred to local refuges and emergency and temporary accommodation. This line is free, confidential and open 24-hours a day. Or visit the Women’s Aid website or Refuge website.
Men’s Advice Line and Enquires (MALE) – 0808 801 0327
MALE is a Home Office supported advice and support service for men in abusive relationships.
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
A helpline offering support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experiencing domestic abuse.
Elder Abuse – 0808 808 8141
Action On Elder Abuse operates in the UK and Ireland and is a confidential freefone helpline for anyone concerned in any way about the abuse of older people. The phone line is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Victim Support (Somerset) – 0300 303 1972
This offers support and signposting for all victims of crime, including domestic abuse.
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 200 0247
NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Helpline
– 0808 800 5000
A website offering support for children and young people living with domestic abuse.
Forced Marriage Unit – 0207 008 0151
Confidential advice and assistance if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you have been forced into.
For perpetrators of Domestic Abuse
Anger management is not recommended and could actually be dangerous.
For people who want help to change their controlling behaviour, Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS) offers a voluntary, behavioural change group work programme.
This programme encourages people to take responsibility for their behaviour and understand the impact on their partner and children.
For more information, phone SIDAS Perpetrator Programme on 0800 694 9999 or for other support contact Respect on 0845 122 8609