What is domestic abuse

Domestic Abuse is Britain’s biggest hidden crime and one that overwhelmingly affects women and their children.

We know that Domestic Abuse is a serious public health issue and that the statistical information is shocking. For women aged 19 – 44 Domestic Abuse is the leading cause of morbidity greater than cancer, war and motor vehicle accidents. 

89% of the victims who suffer sustained Domestic Abuse are female however we also know that Domestic Abuse affects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community and male victims. 

Please remember that you're not alone and domestic abuse is a crime.  If you would like to speak in confidence please ring 01325 364486 - we are there to help you.

We recognise that many of the violent incidents which happen in Darlington occur within relationships. We have been working to increase the number of Domestic Abuse incidents that are reported, so help can be given to victims early on, and to reduce the number of repeat incidents.

Abusers will make lots of excuses for their behaviour, often telling you they were drunk, stressed or depressed and that they just lost control.

Domestic Abuse in a relationship is not:

  • Due to a bad temper
  • Due to the behaviour of the victim, children, or a problem relationship
  • Genetically inherited
  • Disagreement or a marital spat

Domestic Abuse is not caused by:

  • Illness
  • Alcohol or Drugs
  • Stress
  • An anger management problem

Often following an assault they will tell you that they love you and can’t live without you, and that this will never happen again.  They may even tell you that they will take their own life or yours and the lives of the children, if you leave them. 

They will attempt to blame you, deny that they are abusive and lie about the sequence of events.

Domestic abuse takes many forms...

Emotional abuse

Telling you no-one would believe you, mocking, telling you that you are stupid, fat, ugly, too thin, rubbish as a mother, wife, father, human being, telling lies about you, shouting at you, threatening you, humiliating you in public, threatening your children, stalking you, isolating you from family and friends, refusing to let you go out alone.  

Sexual abuse

Forcing you to have sex, forced prostitution, forced to watch or mimic pornography, sex in front of others, sex with other men, sex with other women, sex with animals, criticism of body.

Physical violence

Punching, slapping, kicking, throwing objects, biting, spitting, burning, scalding, choking you, tying you up, hurting your children, pushing downstairs, stabbing, pinching, locking in or out of house, force fed or starved, not allowed to use toilet, not allowed to wash or bathe, forced to sleep on the floor, not allowed to use sanitary protection, poisoned, dragged by the hair.

Financial abuse

Withholding money, checking your receipts, taking your money, running up debts in your name, not allowed to use the telephone.

Children and domestic abuse

Children can witness domestic abuse in a variety of ways. For example, they may be in the same room and may even get caught in the middle of an incident in an effort to make the violence stop. They may be in the room next door and hear the abuse or see their parent’s physical injuries following an incident of violence. They may be forced to stay in one room or may not be allowed to play. They may be forced to witness sexual abuse or they may be forced to take part in verbally abusing the victim.

The Adoption and Children Act 2004 extends the legal definition of harming children to include harm suffered by seeing or hearing ill treatment of others, especially in the home.


  • 1 women in 4 will experience domestic abuse at sometime in her lifetime
  • On average a women will be assaulted 35 times before she makes a call for help
  • Every year 130 women die as a result of being assaulted by their partner/ex partner
  • Between 22 – 30 men die as a result of domestic abuse every year.

Domestic and sexual abuse directory

Keep yourself safe online [external link]

Community Safety Partnership Activity

The Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is working hard to tackle domestic abuse.

The Domestic and Sexual Abuse Network meets on a bi-monthly basis to asses progress in tackling domestic abuse and work out what areas need development. This group is attended by a wide range of service providers and volunteers from across Darlington, it is also attended by guest speakers who give examples of best practice and government proposals that could improve the situation.

The CSP has also developed a Domestic Abuse Action Plan that includes, training and support programmes for victims and for people who work with victims such as those in the Council and Primary Care Trust.  In addition to this the Action Plan a Domestic Abuse Strategy [pdf document] has been produced.

The Strategy has been developed in consultation with a wide range of agencies and includes and action plan, which sets out the key priorities for action to ensure that victims  and their families are effectively supported and that perpetrators are dealt with appropriately