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Domestic Abuse and Safeguarding

The Home Office defines domestic abuse as “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”

SAB Multi-Agency Procedures

Domestic Abuse may involve: 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
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Honour Based Violence
  • Forced Marriage

Possible Indicators. When an intimate partner or family member:

  • tries to keep the person from seeing friends or family
  • prevents them from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work
  • constantly checks up or follows them
  • accuses them unjustly of flirting or of having affairs
  • constantly belittles or humiliates them or regularly criticises or insults them in front of other people deliberately destroys their possessions
  • hurts or threatens them or their children
  • keeps them short of money or items need for their care
  • forces them to do something that they didn’t want to do

Domestic Abuse and Disability

Disabled people experience disproportionately higher rates of domestic abuse for longer periods of time, and it is more severe and more frequent abuse than for non-disabled people. Disabled people are significantly more likely to:

  • be threatened with violence
  • be physically abused
  • be sexually assaulted by intimate partners or strangers
  • experience physical, sexual, emotional and financial domestic abuse than people without disabilities

Disability and domestic abuse – Risk, Impacts and Response.pdf (

Domestic Abuse and Older People

Victims of abuse over 60 are more likely to be living with the perpetrator than those under 60, less likely to have tried to leave the perpetrator before seeking help and less likely to separate from the perpetrator after any intervention. See Safe Later Lives – Older people and domestic abuse.pdf (

Domestic Abuse and Mental Health

It is well known that Domestic Abuse can be a contributing factor to mental ill health in victims and any children in the home. However, people with mental health issues are also at greater risk of abuse:

  • more than one in three people with mental illness have experiencing domestic abuse in the past year,
  • one in 20 people with mental illness have experienced sexual violence in the past year
  • people with mental illness were almost four times more likely to experience violence in the past year
  • people with an intellectual disability were 1.6 times more likely to experience violence in the past year
  • men with post-traumatic stress disorder are over seven times more likely to experience domestic abuse
  • women with anxiety disorder are over four times more likely to experience domestic abuse
  • women with depressive disorder are over two times more likely than women without a mental illness to experience domestic abuse

The challenge for professionals in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough


“A considerable proportion of safeguarding adults work relates to the abuse or neglect of people with care and support needs who are living in their own homes. Domestic abuse is perhaps most commonly thought of as violence between intimate partners, but it can take many other forms and be perpetrated by a range of people. Much safeguarding is therefore also domestic abuse.” ADASS Guide: Adult Safeguarding and Domestic Abuse (adult-safeguarding-and-do-cfe.pdf (

“Complicated Matters is a toolkit addressing domestic and sexual violence, substance use and mental
ill-health” is one of two major new resources stemming from the Stella Project Mental Health Initiative; the second is an e-learning programme of the same name which is freely accessible here:”


Helping Women with Learning Disabilities Express Their Views | Safelives

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