Domestic abuse victims


Last updated: 2019-06-05 12:42:30
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1. Summary

Last updated: 05/06/19

2. Introduction

The cross-government 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

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.

The definition of domestic abuse highlights that young people in the 16 to 17 age group can also be victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily.

The Government definition which is not a legal definition includes so called ‘Honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

It is recognised that victims and perpetrators are not confined to one gender or ethnicity. Domestic abuse takes place at all levels of society, regardless of gender, social class, race, religion, sexuality or disability (Department of Health)

The psychological and physical effects of domestic abuse can be felt for many years often with the continuation of psychological/mental health issues, chronic physical health problems as well as familial and socioeconomic impacts.

Domestic violence and abuse damages physical and emotional health and can have long-lasting negative impacts across a wide range of health, social and economic outcomes. It increases individuals’ risks of a broad range of health damaging behaviours and reduces their life prospects in terms of education, employment and social and emotional wellbeing. The burden of abuse falls heaviest on victims and their families, but also affects those who witness abuse, live with ongoing abuse and fear violence and abuse.

In addition to the devastating impact on the victim and family domestic violence and abuse has a significant financial impact on society.

The Home Office have suggested that the annual cost of Domestic Abuse in England and Wales 16/17 for victims to be approximately £66 billion.

These costs can be divided into three distinct areas

  • Anticipation (expenditure on protective and preventative measures);
  • Consequence (property damage, physical and emotional harms, lost output, health and victim services);
  • Response (police and criminal justice system).

The biggest component of the estimated cost is the physical and emotional harms incurred by victims (£47 billion), particularly the emotional harms (the fear, anxiety and depression experienced by victims as a result of domestic abuse), which account for the overwhelming majority of the overall costs. The cost to the economy is also considerable, with an estimated £14 billion arising from lost output due to time off work and reduced productivity as a consequence of domestic abuse. Some of the cost will be borne by Government such as the costs to health services (£2.3 billion) and the police (£1.3 billion). Some of the cost of victim services will also fall to Government, such as housing costs totalling £550 million, which includes temporary housing, homelessness services and repairs and maintenance. Victim services costs also include expenditure by charities and the time given up by volunteers to support victims.

(The Home Office, 2019)

On average around seven women and two men are killed by their current or former partner every month in England and Wales (ONS 2012/13)

Other JSNA topics this topic closely linked to:

Sexual violence victims

Suicide and self harm

Alcohol misuse


Illicit drug use

Children in need

Sexual health

Looked after children




Last updated: 05/06/19

3. Data and Intelligence

Crime Survey for England 2017

An estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.2 million women, 713,000 men).

At least 27.1% of women and 13.2% of men in England and Wales have experienced domestic abuse at some time since the age of 16 (4.5 million women, 2.2 million) men).

At least 6.7 million adults have experienced domestic abuse at some time since the age of 16 (4.5 million women, 2.2 million) men)*.

Applying these figures to the local population would estimate that the:





No. of people who experienced domestic abuse in Stockton-on-Tees last year.




No. of people who have experienced domestic abuse at some point since the age of 16 in Stockton-on-Tees (cumulative figure)




*These figures are likely to be an underestimation, because all types of domestic abuse are under-reported in health and social research to the police and to other services (NICE, 2016).

Office for National Statistics

Comparisons for Domestic abuse incidents and crimes in Cleveland, Durham and England & Wales, 2016-2017


Domestic abuse incidents & crimes, 2016

Rate per 1,000 pop, 2016

Domestic abuse incidents & crimes, 2017

Rate per 1,000 pop, 2017











England & Wales





Source: Office for National Statistics, 2016 & 2017

Cleveland Police

Data from Cleveland Police (2017/18) identifies that:




Rate of domestic abuse crimes (per 1,000 population)



Stockton-on-Tees has a higher rate of domestic abuse crimes than the national average.




Number of domestic abuse incidents and crimes in Stockton-on-Tees.



Domestic abuse incidents have increased by 9.4% since 2016/17

Domestic abuse crimes have increased by 10% (+204 crimes) since 2016/17

The table below ranks each ward in Stockton-on-Tees (highest to lowest) for crimes, incidents and referrals to harbour.

  • Stockton Town Centre has the most crimes, incidents and referrals to Harbour.
  • Western Parishes has the least crimes, incidents and referrals to Harbour.
  • There is a clear link between the most deprived wards having the most crimes, incidents and referrals into the commissioned specialist service.
  • The above table is based on actual reports / crimes but does not take into account population density.
  • The information above is used by Harbour to target information on support services to those areas where referrals are lower such as Parkfield and Oxbridge.

Under reporting of domestic abuse

Using national estimates and police recorded data we know that:

6,331 people were estimated to experience domestic abuse in Stockton in the last year;

5,037 domestic abuse incidents were recorded in Stockton by the police in the last year; however

45% of incidents can be attributed to a victim who has already reported an incident in the last 12 months; therefore, an estimated

2,770 people reported one or more incident in the last year.

Therefore, based on these estimates it is suggested that there are at least 3,561 people experiencing domestic abuse incidents in Stockton-on-Tees per year but not reporting to the police.


A study by NSPCC and Refuge in 2011 suggested that one in seven (14.2%) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic abuse at some point in their childhood. The emotional and psychological impacts on children affected by domestic abuse within the family environment can be long lasting.

In 2017/18, 523 referrals were made to SBC’s Children’s Services due to risks associated with domestic abuse.

In 2016, SBC’s Youth Offending Team worked with 83 young people, of whom, 45% had witnessed domestic abuse in their home and 28% had showed attributes of being a ‘young aggressor’ by using aggressive or abusive behaviour in the family (particularly adolescent to parent violence), and/ or showing abusive behaviours in early dating or peer relationships.

Research estimates that approximately 30% of children who witness domestic abuse between parents go on to become violent or victims of abuse in adult relationships (Gelles and Cavanagh, 2005 NSPCC).

Operation Encompass is delivered across Stockton, data for 16/17 tells us that at least 1,074 children were exposed to domestic abuse. Applying the above research to this number estimates that at least 322 children may go on to become abusive or victims of abuse. This is an underestimate as evidence shows that on average high risk victims can live with domestic abuse for up to 3 years before getting help (SafeLives 2015).

Living with domestic abuse

On average high risk victims can live with domestic abuse for up to 3 years before getting help. (SafeLives 2015)

85% of victims sought help on average five times from professionals in the year before they got effective help to stop the abuse (SafeLives 2015)


Since April 2014, there has been 82 recorded crimes for the specific stalking offence in Cleveland (Although research suggests that stalking is either under reported or mis-reported as harassment).

Training issues for partner agencies is highlighted in the Home Office Domestic Homicide Reviews key findings as the most frequent recommendation (Home Office Domestic Homicide Review 2016). Lack of awareness and understanding across partner agencies impacts on the number of referrals into support services and the length of time victims experience abuse before receiving support.

Perpetrator engagement

A study looking at perpetrator programmes for domestic abuse reported engagement rates of 24% for programmes in the areas studied, highlighting the difficulty often experienced when trying to engage clients in programmes. (Donovan & Griffiths, 2013).

Research suggests that where perpetrator programmes operate within a co-ordinated community response model, linking specialist domestic abuse services with the police, children’s services etc. clients on such programmes have shown to be more respectful and considerate in communications with their partners and children; and were found to have a positive impact on contributing to safer, healthier childhoods for children living in families where domestic violence and abuse is an issue.

Last updated: 05/06/19

4. Which population groups are at risk and why?

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5. Consultation and engagement


Last updated: 05/06/19

6. Strategic issues

Last updated: 05/06/19

7. Evidence base


Issue number

1 = highest priority




Office for National Statistics

Title incl. web link

Intimate personal violence and partner abuse.


Statistics on Intimate personal violence and Partner abuse 14/15



Title incl. web link

Quality Standard 116 Domestic violence and abuse


Quality Standard for services for domestic violence and abuse.


Office of National Statistics

Title incl. web link

Women most at risk of experiencing partner abuse in England and Wales: years ending March 2015 to 2017


Characteristics of women who have been victims of partner abuse.



Early Intervention Foundation

Title incl. web link

Early Intervention in Domestic  Violence and abuse summary and recommendations 2014.


Report examining the impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People highlighting the importance of prevention.


Women’s Aid

Title incl. web link

The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people


Overview of the impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People


Safe Lives

Title incl. web link

Safe Lives Policy Report (2014) In Plain Sight: Effective help for children exposed to domestic abuse


Report into the impact on children exposed to domestic abuse and effective interventions.




Title incl. web link

Domestic violence and abuse: how services can respond effectively.


Summary of NICE recommendations for local authorities and partner agencies on domestic violence and abuse.


HM Governments Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

Title incl. web link

Strategy to end violence against women and girls: 2016 to 2020


Provides an overview of the range of actions the government will be taking towards its strategy of ending violence against women and girls.



Title incl. web link

Getting it right first time


Annual report on approach to how domestic abuse is addressed in the UK.


Department of Health

Title incl. web link

Protecting People Promoting Health – a Public Health approach to violence prevention for England DH 2012


Impact of Domestic Abuse and details of evidence based interventions for violence prevention.


Durham University

Title incl. web link

Project Mirabal


Report examining approaches to support for Domestic Abuse Perpetrators.



Last updated: 05/06/19

8. What is being done and why?

National organisations

Organisations including Refuge, SafeLives, WomensAid, Respect and Mankind provide awareness raising campaigns.

Victim Support are a national charity that provide advice, information and support to victims and witnesses of crime and their families.

Stockton Domestic Abuse Steering Group

Stockton Domestic Abuse Steering Group co-ordinate the multiagency approach to tackling domestic abuse including implementing the Stockton-on-Tees Domestic Abuse Strategy 2017-22 and an action plan produced from the strategy priorities.

strategy link below:

The priorities within the Domestic Violence and Abuse strategy are to:

  1. Use a combination of approaches to change our culture and strengthen our efforts to prevent domestic abuse occurring, including a focus on healthy relationships
  2. Intervene early, and respond efficiently and effectively, to support, protect and safeguard individuals and families who are affected by domestic abuse
  3. Seek to understand, and intervene to reduce, the cycle of repeat perpetration of domestic abuse
  4. Seek to identify, understand, and support repeat victims of domestic abuse
  5. Reduce the impact of domestic abuse on children, young people and families by working restoratively with families
  6. Work together to educate, inform and challenge ourselves and our communities in the delivery of our vision


Domestic Abuse Operational/Tactical group

A multiagency Domestic Abuse Operational/Tactical group meet quarterly, bringing partners together to discuss local issues and work towards a co-ordinated community response to domestic abuse.

Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB)

The LSCB oversees audits of domestic abuse and provides training for local partners.

Tees Safeguarding Adults Board (TSAB)

The TSAB provides training and awareness raising around domestic violence and abuse.

Workforce Development

The Stockton-on-Tees council Workforce Development department deliver training on domestic abuse to the authority workforce.

Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

A MARAC is held every two weeks and brings local statutory and voluntary agencies together to focus on high risk victims at risk of harm and repeat domestic abuse.

Teesside Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC)

Teesside SDVC allows police, prosecutors, courts and specialist services to work together to identify and track domestic abuse cases, to support victims and bring offenders to justice.

Safe at Home scheme

The Safe at Home scheme supports victims of domestic abuse. Clients receive a visit from a Qualified Crime Prevention Officer and target hardening applied to their home when needed. This is a process that enhances/ improves the security of the property with an aim of allowing the victim to remain and feel safe in their own home.


The Public Health Team work with schools to embed healthy relationships into relationships and sex education including updating the Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education curriculum in line with the Government Consultation on Changes to teaching of Relationships and Sex Education and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE). This is part of a whole school approach to resilience and wellbeing.

Multi-agency Tasking and Co-ordination (MATAC)

As part of the Police Transformation Fund Whole Systems Approach to Domestic Abuse a MATAC process has been introduced in Cleveland, this aims to identify and target the most harmful perpetrators through analysis of history, frequency and gravity of offending.

Police Transformation Fund

As part of the Police Transformation Fund Whole Systems Approach to Domestic Abuse a model of Perpetrator interventions has been developed to include early intervention. 

Operation Encompass

Operation Encompass operates within Stockton and enables information collected by Cleveland Police regarding domestic abuse incidents to be reported to the school of any children within the household

Let’s get along

Cleveland Police Early Intervention Coordinators are delivering a programme aimed at young people who are showing signs of abusive behaviours towards family members. The intervention is called ‘Let’s get along’.

Harbour Support Services

Harbour Support Services currently provide a range of Domestic Violence and Abuse Support services to Stockton-on-Tees residents who are experiencing, perpetrating or affected by domestic abuse. 

The services provided include:

Outreach support and advice

Including safety planning, legal, housing and financial advice, the service is available at venues across Stockton and can involve 1 to 1 support and / or attendance at group sessions. The service can also offer advice to people concerned about family and friends who are affected by an abusive relationship.


Harbour Stockton Refuge offers accommodation for women who need accommodation because they are leaving an abusive relationship. Harbour also has other properties to support male victims and victims with larger families or with male dependants over 18, who may not be able to stay in usual Refuge setting.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA)

The IDVAs are specially trained advisors who work alongside criminal justice agencies to provide specialist support to victims of domestic abuse.

Sexual Violence Counselling

Harbour's counselling service supports men and women aged 16 and over who have been affected by experiences of sexual abuse or rape.

Young Aggressors and Early Intimate Relationships

Programmes are available for young aggressors and those experiencing and those in early intimate relationships experiencing and showing signs of abusive behaviours.

Victim Programmes

The service includes support programmes for victims including the Freedom Programme, a 12 week course that will help victims to understand the beliefs held by abusive partners and the effects of abuse upon children and programmes that both the non-abusive parent and children can engage in.

Children’s Service

Harbour operate a children and young people service who work with children aged between 3 and 16 years who are living with or have lived with domestic abuse, the service offers group and 1:1 therapeutic support.  

Link workers

A specialist Domestic Abuse link worker sits within Children’s Services (Early Help) to work closely with the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Early Help team to support families and provide support around domestic abuse issues within Early Help and education. In addition a Specialist Domestic Abuse Worker sits within the local Social Work team within Children’s Services in order to undertake direct work with clients, including pre-commencement work with perpetrators and victims, short pieces of work where a risk assessment identifies this as appropriate, provide support and challenge clients during assessment and if disengagement occurs.

The Childrens Hub

There has been a specialist domestic abuse worker within the Stockton and Hartlepool Childrens Hub since the Hub was formed.  This is a joint post between Hartlepool and Stockton. The Childrens Hub worker works closely with the Specialist Domestic Abuse Worker in the Early Help team to ensure immediate handover discussions can take place providing families in Stockton with support without delay by arranging home visits and direct offers of support.

Perpetrator Programmes

Harbour provides group programmes or 1:1 work where appropriate for men and women who have been violent or abusive to a partner or ex-partner but want to take action to change their behaviour. The programmes include long term behaviour change programme the RESPECT accredited programme and early intervention as well as a programme which uses parenting as a motivator for change.

Building Better Relationships

Building Better Relationships is a perpetrator programme delivered by the Probation service for those perpetrators who are in Prison or have received community orders to undertake the programme as a sanction.

Integrated Offender Management

Integrated Offender Management is delivered by Cleveland Police with Domestic Abuse Perpetrators.

Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator

A new post was created for a Domestic abuse Co-ordinator within Stockton council to support the robust implementation of the Domestic Abuse Strategy and further development of supporting action plans. The post has been agreed on a two year temporary contract until December 2019.

Prevention Work 0-19

The Public Health team and Children’s Services have worked closely to design and procure a 0-19 integrated Wellbeing model which brings together health visiting, school nursing, family weight management and community outreach services. In delivering the new 0 – 19 approach, there is a focus on supporting the development of healthy family relationships with work to address parental stress and support attachment, bonding and parental sensitivity. All staff will be trained to undertake routine enquiry and support the development of safety plans.


In 2016-18 Domestic Abuse Training for frontline staff was commissioned through the Public health team and a variation to the specialist service contract following mapping work which looked at challenges and barriers faced by referring agencies. High demand was received for the training and across 14 full days over 300 individuals were trained by the commissioned Specialist Domestic abuse service.

Last updated: 05/06/19

9. What needs are unmet?

Last updated: 05/06/19

10. What needs to be done and why?

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11. What additional needs assessment is required?

More information on domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ communities.

Further research on domestic abuse in respect of disability.

Further information on domestic abuse victims who are marginalised due to sociocultural norms and the culture around domestic abuse;

Domestic abuse in early intimate relationships experienced by young people.

The information from agencies regarding domestic abuse cases is data protected and this has prevented detailed examination of clients’ journeys. Case studies are provided regularly by specialist service but further case information from agencies would support this work.

Domestic abuse in older people data for Stockton doesn’t match with national picture, more information and research is needed in this area.

Last updated: 05/06/19

12. References


Last updated: 05/06/19

13. Key contact

Name: Jenny Collier

Job title: Service Design and Development Officer

Organisation: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Phone number: 01642 528442


Rachel Batey - Domestic Abuse Coordinator SBC

Lisa Lyons - Community Safety Analyst SBC

James O’Donnell - Public Health Intelligence Specialist SBC

Mandy Mackinnon - Early Interventions Manager (Adults) SBC

Eve Connor-McGill- Sex and Relationship Education Co-ordinator SBC

Daniel Maddison- Commissioning Lead NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG

Nicola Childs- Commissioning Lead NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG

Rachelle Kipling- Commissioner’s Officer for Victims - Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland

Last updated: 05/06/19