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Support for Victims

1. Support for victims

Domestic abuse is 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, regardless of gender or sexuality. Types of abuse can encompass but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

 

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.

 Remember you are never to blame for abuse, it is a choice made by the abuser.

 

Immediate guidance and support 

  • If you are in immediate danger you should contact the police on 999.
  • If you are unable to talk on the phone but are in immediate danger, dial 999 from your mobile and then press 55 - the police can assist you without the need to talk though their Silent Solution System.
  • If you are not in any immediate danger but want to record an incident, you can call Thames Valley Police on 101
  • If you are worried about causing harm to the ones you love you can contact the respect phone line: 0808 802 4040

 

If you feel that you, a friend or a family member is experiencing domestic abuse, you can:

 

Support Services 

  • Aylesbury Women's Aidsupporting women and children in Aylesbury, information advocacy and refuge accommodation to women and children fleeing domestic violence or forced marriage - telephone: 01296 437777 email: aylesburywomensaid.org.uk
  • Wycombe Women's Aid - supporting women and children in Wycombe, Chilterns and South Bucks who are experiencing or trying to escape domestic violence - telephone: 01494 461367 email: wycombewomensaid.org.uk
  • AVMKSAASS (Aylesbury & Milton Keynes Sexual Assault and Abuse Support Service) - provide advice, support and counselling to women and girls and men and boys over sixteen that have been affected by sexual violence. #They also help men and boys who are victims of domestic abuse - telephone: 01296 719772
  • 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline – free confidential advice and support line - telephone: 0808 2000 247
  • Give us a Shout - Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.
  • One Recovery Bucks - substance misuse service for adults in Buckinghamshire - telephone: 0300 772 9672
  • Reducing The Risk – Buckinghamshire support service for all domestic abuse victims
  • Respect – for people who are abusive to their partners and want to stop - telephone: 0808 8010327
  • Victims Firstservice that supports all victims and witnesses to cope and recover from the impact of crime - telephone: 0300 1234 148
  • Mankind - confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse - telephone: 01823 334244
  • Male Advice Line –helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them - telephone: 0808 8010327

 

Young Person Services

  • Childlinetrained children and young people counselling support line - telephone: 0800 1111
  • SAFEProvides support to children and families who have been affected by crime or abuse. Telephone: 0800 133 7938
  • Switch Bucks – Young person drug and alcohol service for Buckinghamshire - telephone: 01494 527000 email: Switchbucks@cranstoun.org.uk

2. Stalking

Stalking is fixated, persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear that violence might be used against you.

Stalking is a horrific crime that affects 1 in 6 women and 1 in 12 men across the course of their lifetime. Anyone can be a victim, and anyone could be a perpetrator of stalking.

For further information on stalking and the law, please visit Suzy Lamplugh Trust: stalking and the law.

 

Stalking behaviors include:

  • sending flowers or unwanted gifts
  • damaging property
  • unwanted phone calls or text messages
  • driving past the victim's home or workplace
  • gathering information on the victim by contacting people who know the victim, for example using public records
  • threats to the victim or those close, particularly those who are seen to be 'protecting the victim' or acting as the buffer between the victim and the stalker
  • burglary or robbery of the victim's home, workplace, car

You can check the signs to see if you are being stalked by visiting the Suzy Lamplugh Trust: am I being stalked.

 

Immediate guidance and support

Things you can do, straightaway, if you feel that you are experiencing harassment or stalking:

  • Keep a diary of events; write down the date, time, location and any other details you believe are relevant.
  • Keep copies of all communication e.g. letters, text messages, phone calls, emails, and social media.
  • Carry a personal alarm
  • Download a personal safety app – the Holliguard app provides a level of personal safety and protection when travelling alone.
  • Do not engage with your stalker in any way
  • Call the police - always call 999 in an emergency - it's an emergency when a crime is being committed, there's a risk of injury or serious damage to property.
  • Call 101 if there is no immediate danger.

 

For more support services, please visit our support for victims webpage

3. Domestic violence in LGBT+ relationships

If you are experiencing abuse in a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender relationship you do not have to suffer in silence. No one deserves to be in an abusive relationship. For further information visit the LGBT Bucks domestic abuse webpage.

 

Immediate guidance and support 

If you are in immediate danger you should contact the police on 999.

  • If you are unable to talk on the phone but are in immediate danger, dial 999 from your mobile and then press 55 - the police can assist you without the need to talk though their Silent Solution System.
  • If you are not in any immediate danger but want to record an incident, you call Thames Valley Police on 101
  • If you are worried about causing harm to the ones you love you can contact the respect phone line: 0808 802 4040

 

If you think you or a friend are being abused, you can:

 

Support Services 

  • Aylesbury Vale LGBT Social Group - Voluntary Community Organisation who organise events and social gatherings, primarily in and around the Aylesbury Vale area of Buckinghamshire
  • GALOP - provides LGBT+ Hate Crime, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence support services. Telephone: 0800 999 5428
  • LGBT Bucks – Buckinghamshire based website for LGBT+ community.
  • Reducing the Risk – Buckinghamshire support service for domestic abuse victims. LGBT+ pages.
  • Stonewall – Information and support for LGBT+ communities and their allies - telephone: 0800 0502020 Lines are open 9:30 - 4:30 Monday to Friday.
  • Thames Valley Police LAGLO - Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers are available specifically to help LGBT+ victims in Buckinghamshire- telephone: 101 and request a "LAGLO" 

 

For more support services, please visit our support for victims webpage.

4. Disability

A review by Public Health England in 2015 confirmed that people with disabilities are more vulnerable to domestic violence and experience it for longer periods of time, often with more severe and frequent abuse than non-disabled people with differing dynamics which may include;

more severe coercion, control or abuse from carers. Abuse can also happen when someone withholds, destroys or manipulates medical equipment, access to communication, medication, personal care, meals and transportation.

 

Immediate guidance and support 

If you are in immediate danger you should contact the police on 999.

  • If you are unable to talk on the phone but are in immediate danger, dial 999 from your mobile and then press 55 - the police can assist you without the need to talk though their Silent Solution System.
  • If you are not in any immediate danger but want to record an incident, you call Thames Valley Police on 101
  • If you are worried about causing harm to the ones you love you can contact the respect phone line: 0808 802 4040

 

If you think you or a friend are being abused:

 

Support Services

  • Ann Craft Trust -  Service dedicated to key issues affecting adults and young people at risk including forced marriage, financial abuse, sexual exploitation and disability hate crime.
  • Sign Health – specialist support for deaf people, working in conjunction with 61 - Deaf Hope to provide domestic abuse support - text: 07966 976749
  • Thames Valley Police Visual Impairment Service – A protocol that provides better security for a visually impaired person to identify if a person is a police officer at their door.

 

For more support services, please visit our support for victims webpage.

 

5. Honour based abuse and forced marriage

Forced marriage is where one or both people are pressured into a marriage against their wish and duress is used to enforce the marriage, forced marriage is classed as domestic violence.

Duress includes psychological, sexual, financial or emotional pressure and physical violence. This is not the same as an arranged marriage, where although the families of both spouses assist in arranging the marriage, the choice to accept remains with the couple.

Forced marriage can be classed as honour based violence which can include sexual violence, threats to kills, social ostracism, pressure to move abroad. The Crown Prosecution Service describes honour-based violence as an incident or crime “which has, or may have, been committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of the family and or the community.

 

Immediate guidance and support

 

 Support services

  • Karma Nirvana - supports both male and female victims of honour crimes and forced marriages - Telephone: 0800 5999 247
  • SupportLine - offers confidential and emotional support relating to forced marriage Telephone: 01708 765 200
  • Reducing the Risk (link) has further information about forced marriage and support services.

 

For more support services, please visit our support for victims webpage.

 

6. Guidance for professionals

Domestic violence or abuse (DVA) is defined as 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 or emotional (Home Office 2006).

This definition includes so-called 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

Whilst this is not a legal definition, it helps to give a clear message to victims about what constitutes domestic violence and abuse and that a relationship does not have to involve violence to be abusive.

 

Buckinghamshire’s Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy

In Buckinghamshire the vision is to promote a zero tolerance and coordinated response to people at risk of domestic violence or abuse and to ensure that those who are affected are identified, supported, protected and empowered.

We have set out what agencies should be working towards within Buckinghamshire around domestic violence and abuse in our Buckinghamshire Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy 2018 to 2021.

 

Buckinghamshire Champions Network

As a domestic abuse champion you will be able to proactively help draw your agency and others together. Multi agency working is the key to providing an effective, consistent and comprehensive service for those suffering from domestic abuse. It increases identification of domestic abuse and reduces both the proportion of repeat incidents and the impact on those experiencing domestic abuse

Being part of the Buckinghamshire Champions Network ensures we give the best possible support to those suffering from DVA in Buckinghamshire. To find out more information about the network and the free training we provide, please download our printable Champion’s  leaflet. 

 

Advice and support information 

Anyone in immediate danger should phone 999

 

  • If they are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, they can dial 999 from their mobile and press 55 - The Silent Solution transfers the call to the police, who will assist without the caller having to speak.
  • You will find information and advice about the signs of domestic violence and abuse, local and national services that can help and support regarding; forced marriage, honour based abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM), disability and domestic abuse, LGBT+ victims, victims, children and young people, housing and injunctions on the Reducing the Risk website.
  • The DASH risk checklist is used to give professionals a consistent approach to risk assessing victims of domestic abuse - this tool helps to identify the risk level of victims into standard, medium and high to help professionals signposting them to the correct level of support and identifies the cases that require a referral to Marac (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference)   
  • If you are concerned about risk to a child, you should make a referral to the First Response Team. If you are unsure about the need to make a referral you can also find a referral flowchart and a Threshold Document for guidance on this page. If you are unsure about the need to make a referral, the Buckinghamshire referral flowchart and thresholds document offers guidance.
  • Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) provides confidential crisis support and information to high and medium risk DVA sufferers living in Buckinghamshire who have been referred to the MARAC:
  • The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS, also known as “Clare’s Law”) enables the police to disclose information to a victim or potential victim of domestic abuse about their partner’s or ex-partner’s previous abusive or violent offending - members of the public can also make enquiries into the partner of a close friend or family member by sending an application to the Thames Valley Police.
  • There are apps that victims can download to provide support, protection and evidence recording:
    • The Bright Sky app provides support for those experiencing domestic abuse as well as those concerned about friends and family member
    • The Holliguard app is a useful tool for those experiencing DVA or those who have left an abusive relationship.
  • Anybody worried about causing harm to the ones they love can get help by contacting Respect Phoneline 0808 802 4040.
    • Men can ring the Male Advice Line for support.
    • Mankind offers specialist advice for male victims of domestic violence and abuse.

For more support services, please visit our support for victims webpage.

7. Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHR)

The Domestic Homicide Review considers the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by: a person to whom he or she was related a person with whom he or she was or had been in an intimate personal relationship a member of their household.

All community safety partnerships are required to undertake a homicide review in respect of domestic homicides where local agencies have been involved with the family.

The aim of the review is for all agencies involved to identify what lessons there are to learn about the way local professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims.

They are not reviews of the police investigation, coroner's hearing, or any internal disciplinary. They are not intended to apportion blame.

 

Safer Buckinghamshire Partnership

Safer Buckinghamshire Partnership came into effect on 1 April 2020. This is the community safety partnership for Buckinghamshire.

It is responsible for commissioning Domestic Homicide Reviews under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. These are independently chaired and a full report is sent to the Home Office.

 

DHR executive summaries

View the Domestic Homicide Review for Philip who died in March 2018 PDF, 199KB