What is domestic abuse

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse affects people from all walks of life and in many different ways. We know that domestic abuse can affect both men and women as well as those in same sex relationships. If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse or are being threatened or intimidated in your home or elsewhere by a current or previous partner or adult family member you are a victim of domestic abuse. You are not alone, we can help. You may additionally wish to seek support or advice from our partners who specialise in domestic abuse.

What can we do to help?

Within the Metropolitan Police domestic abuse is investigated by specially trained officers in Community Safety Units. These officers are committed to preventing and bringing to justice perpetrators of domestic abuse which affects one in four women. We will deal with you without prejudice and in confidence. We take domestic violence very seriously and will deal positively and promptly with any incident we attend. We aim to contact you within 24 hours of receiving your report and we can help define what the best course of action is for you.

Our first priority is to protect you and any children you have. If the situation is an emergency an officer will attend and if possible arrest the perpetrator and take action to protect you from further abuse. Alternatively you can attend any police station in person, ask a friend or relative to do so on your behalf or call the non-emergency number which is 101. If you require an interpreter one will be made available initially by phone and later in person.

In many cases victims of domestic abuse may require temporary or longer-term housing alternatives, it may be that you require an injunction to prevent the perpetrator approaching you or perhaps need counselling or support. We work alongside highly trained non-police advisors who can assist with aftercare for you and your family. Additionally if you need to attend court for any reason there are support services available so that you do not feel overwhelmed or alienated by the legal process.

Honour Based Violence

There is clearly no honour to be gained in threatening or harming others with violence however within London a small minority of women and men experience violence and threats of violence at the hands of their family or community in order to protect this perceived ‘honour’. There is nothing religious or cultural about this violence, it is a crime and we will take seriously any information received from any source relating to this subject.

If you are in fear of such violence or believe another may be suffering do not underestimate the seriousness of such a situation. Honour based violence takes lives. By attending a police station or calling the Community Safety Unit for your borough you will be able to speak to an officer who can help. Please do not delay.

Warning signs of Honour Based Violence:

  • Forms of communication severed between victim and friends
  • Withdrawal from education or workplace
  • Criticism of victim for ‘western’ adoption of dress or make-up
  • Restrictions in leaving the house or chaperoning outside the home
  • Onset of depression or suicidal tendencies in otherwise happy person

Forced Marriage

Within the Metropolitan Police we are committed to eradicating the practice of forced marriage. This is not to be confused with an arranged marriage where parties involved have the choice to accept the arrangement or not. Forced marriage is when one party is threatened or bullied into making such a marriage. A family member might threaten suicide if the young person does not consent and in some cases the ‘bride’ or ‘groom’ take their own life rather than bring this perceived shame on the family by not entering such an agreement.

On June 16th 2014 Forced Marriage will become an offence. In the MPS we are committed to making victims safe and anyone affected by this practice will be offered a civil or criminal route to protect them from harm. If you are affected by this your safety will be our priority.

If you are worried you might be forced into marriage or are worried for another please contact either the Forced Marriage Unit for advice or your local Community Safety Unit. There is much we can do to protect you and you are not alone as numerous cases are raised each year with the unit.

How to Report Domestic Violence to Us

  • For an immediate response call 999
  • Police non-emergency number 101
  • For non-emergency incidents use the online crime reporting service - see related links

If you are deaf or have speech impairment you can use a textphone to call us - Dial 18000 in an emergency, or 18001 101 if your call is not an emergency.

For further information and advice on hate incidents contact your local community safety unit.

Advice & Support

With your consent, we can put you in touch with other support organisations that understand your specific needs. The attached leaflet can be downloaded or simply read for a more concise summary of how we can help. It also provides a list of organisations who can assist you other than the police.