Domestic abuse - resources for professionals

1. Guidelines for Professionals

The following guidelines, taken from training material used in courses, may be a useful starting point for anyone who has been, or may be, approached for help with domestic problems.

Supporting people living with abuse

People seeking help have the right to expect

  • To be asked
  • To be believed, and treated with respect
  • That their safety is paramount
  • Confidentiality, and that the limits to this will be explained
  • To be given information on their options
  • To be enabled to make their own decisions
  • To be given time

Safety assessment

  • What is the abuser doing?
  • History of the abuse - frequency, intensity and severity
  • The person's fear of the situation and their beliefs about their immediate danger
  • Physically violent?
  • Making threats against the victim, children or friends
  • Harming children
  • Frequently intoxicated (drugs/alcohol)
  • Self - harm or suicide threats/attempts
  • Attempts to get help in the last 12 months
  • Availability of emotional and practical support from friends and family
  • Any possible risks to staff

Privacy and confidentiality

  • Staff should be aware of their own organisation's confidentiality policy.
  • Staff should see clients on their own. If an interpreter is required they should be independent and professional. Children should not be present during the discussion if at all possible.
  • The meeting should take place in a room where confidentiality can be assured and where the client cannot be seen or overheard. There should be no interruption of the meeting.
  • Staff should emphasise confidentiality but be clear about its limits in line with their organisation's policy (e.g. in relation to child protection).
  • Staff should inform the client if they are going to pass on any information and if possible ask for permission first.
  • All staff should be aware of the potential life-and-death risks of revealing the whereabouts of an abused woman.

Providing information

  • A person should be given information not advice
  • Staff should be aware of what resources are available locally
  • Staff should have access to a copy of the Directory of Services (can be downloaded below)
  • The help offered should be in direct response to the person's identified needs and preferences
  • Staff should consider whether it is appropriate for them to contact an agency on a person's behalf and if staff do contact another agency, written consent should be sort
  • Posters, leaflets and cards should be on display. It may be appropriate to have these in a range of languages.

Directory of services for people living with abuse in Buckinghamshire

If you need to access specialist services you may wish to consult the current Directory of Services, produced by the Domestic Abuse Project. This contains contact information for a very wide range of statutory and voluntary organisations dealing with Domestic Abuse and related issues. 

Download Directory of services for people living with abuse (PDF)

Buckinghamshire Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy 2015 - 2018

The Domestic Violence and Abuse strategy builds on the building blocks of the last strategy and sets out what agencies should be working towards within Buckinghamshire around domestic violence and abuse.  The strategies vision is To promote a zero tolerance and coordinated response to people at risk of Domestic Violence or Abuse in Buckinghamshire, to seek to ensure that those who are affected are identified, supported, protected and empowered." 

Download Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy 2015 - 2018

Support and follow up

  • Where possible staff should continue to provide support after disclosure.  This allows monitoring to identify possible escalating abuse/violence and increasing risk.
  • Assist the person to make a safety/contingency plan (see link below)
  • Staff may also need support and should know how they can access this
  • A supportive work environment should also assist staff to deal with disclosure either from clients or from staff

Female genital mutilation

This is any procedure which involves the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or another injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.  Many believe it is necessary to ensure acceptance by their community, however, this custom is against the law in the UK and many other countries.

The Bucks Safeguarding Children Board have produced a leaflet and developed a policy in relation to how agencies need to respond: 

Female genital mutilation leaflet 
Female genital mutilation policy 


Print entire guide

Last updated: 8 August 2019

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