What is Domestic Violence?

Definition of domestic violence and abuse

With effect from March 2013, the official Government definition of domestic violence and 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. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

• 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.”

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

The majority of domestic abuse is committed by men towards women. It can also involve men being abused by their female partners, abuse in same sex relationships, and by young people towards other family members, as well as the abuse of older people in families. Domestic abuse occurs irrespective of social class, racial, ethnic, cultural, religious or sexual relationships or identity.

No one agency can address all the needs of people affected by, or perpetrating, domestic violence and abuse. For intervention to be effective agencies and partner organisations need to work together, and be prepared to take on the challenges that domestic violence and abuse creates.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Claire’s Law) went live nationwide on 08 March 2014, giving members of the public a 'right to ask’ Police where they have a concern that their partner may pose a risk to them or where they are concerned that the partner of a member of their family or a friend may pose a risk to that individual. To access this information an application must be made in person at a police station.

Managing Risk and Levels of Intervention

The Domestic Abuse and Harassment and Honour Based Violence (DASH) Identification and Risk Assessment Model - DASH Risk Checklist.

The aim of this model is to save lives through early risk identification, intervention and prevention, and to create one standard practical tool to refer cases to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), to share information and manage risk effectively.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)

Council accredited this model to be implemented across all police services in the UK from March 2009.

  • The DASH model is for all professionals working with victims of domestic abuse, stalking and harassment and honour based violence;
  • In England and Wales, the police service use the ACPO DASH and partner agencies the CAADA DASH;
  • There is also a risk checklist for victims of domestic abuse, stalking and honour based violence. This is called the Victim - DASH (V-DASH 2010)
  • There are also further questions on stalking called the Stalking - DASH (S-DASH, 2009) Risk Identification Checklist. This again has been adapted for victims to use, Victim Stalking - DASH (VS-DASH 2009)

The police have to ask the ACPO DASH questions at all incidents and grade them standard, medium or high risk. The first response officer will conduct the initial risk identification and then the specialist staff based in the domestic abuse unit will then conduct the risk assessment in full. The risk tool for police is more extensive covering a full risk assessment and risk management packages, as well as three explicit additional questions relating to children, 11 on stalking and harassment and a further 10 if Honour Based Violence is disclosed.

The purpose of the checklist is to give a consistent and practical tool to practitioners working with victims of domestic abuse to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm and whose cases should be referred to MARAC.

MARAC Contact Details

Sheffield: marac@sheffield.gcsx.gov.uk
Rotherham: MARAC_rotherham@southyorks.pnn.police.uk
Barnsley: MARAC_barnsley@southyorks.pnn.police.uk
Doncaster: marac@doncaster.gcsx.gov.uk

0114 252 3095 or 8095 (Police internal number)

For Sheffield, please use: 0114 2736984


Sheffield: idvas.groupmailbox@sheffdap.cjsm.net
Tel: (0114) 249 3920
Fax: 272 4296

Rotherham: rotherham.idvas@rotherham.gov.uk.cjsm.net
Fax: 01709 371637

Barnsley: kath.huckle@barnsley.cjsm.net
Tel/Fax: 01226 731812

Doncaster: idvas@doncaster.gcsx.gov.uk
Fax: 01302 862354

The checklist should be used whenever a professional receives an initial disclosure of domestic abuse. It is designed to be used for those suffering current rather than historic domestic abuse and, ideally, should be used as a rapid response to an incident of abuse.

Forced Marriage – New Offences from 16th June 2014

On 16th June 2014 new legislation becomes effective under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to make forcing someone to marry a criminal offence.

A person who is found guilty of the offence is liable to a fine or imprisonment of 7 years.

It will also be an offence to use deception in order to entice someone abroad so that they can be married against their will. The act will also give protection to those lacking mental capacity to make an informed decision about whether to marry or not.

Definition of Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage is defined as ‘a marriage conducted without the valid consent of one or both parties, where duress is a factor’.

Duress can mean emotional pressure as well as criminal actions such as an assault or abduction.

Forced Marriage can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and prospects for the future. Forced Marriage is either child abuse when children are involved or domestic abuse when adults are involved. It may include physical or sexual violence, threatening behaviour, stalking/ harassment, imprisonment, abduction, financial control and other forms of demeaning or humiliating behaviour or control. Victims can be male or female.

A Forced Marriage is distinctly different from an Arranged Marriage, which is arranged by families but the choice remains with the individuals who give full and free consent.

The majority of cases of forced marriage encountered in the UK involve South Asian families, but this is due to the size of the South Asian population in the UK, rather than this being an issue specific to this community. There are also cases involving families from Iraqi Kurdistan, East Asia, the Middle Ease, Eastern Europe, Africa and from within Czech and Slovak Roma Communities.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO)

Forced Marriage Protection Order is one of the tools that can help protect victims against forced marriage. Police and social workers can help adults to work with solicitors to apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. This is a legal document issued by a judge, which is designed to protect the Adult at Risk. It contains legally binding conditions and directions that require a change in the behaviour of a person or persons trying to force another Adult at Risk into marriage.

The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been forced or is being forced into marriage. Orders can be made in an emergency to protect someone straightaway. They can also be made to protect someone when they are a child if there is a risk that a forced marriage could happen in the future.

The Offence of Breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order

A person who without reasonable excuse does anything that they are prohibited from doing by a Forced Marriage Protection Order is now guilty of an offence.

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to a fine or 5 years in prison.

Help and advice on Forced Marriage is available.

Domestic Violence Protection Notice and Orders

The new Domestic Violence Protection Notice and Orders legislation came into force on Monday 2nd June 2014 in South Yorkshire.

Domestic violence protection orders are a new power introduced by the Crime and Security Act 2010, and enable the police to put in place protection for the victim in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.

The Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) allow police officers to act instantly to safeguard you and your children (if you have them) if they consider you to be under threat of domestic abuse – this may be from your partner, husband / wife, boyfriend / girlfriend or a family member. The Orders are used to intervene in cases where police believe someone may be at risk from violence or are worried about violent behaviour within a household, but do not have enough evidence to bring a criminal charge. Within 48 hours of a DVPN being issued, there is a hearing in the Magistrates’ court where the Police can apply for the notice to be made into an order (Domestic Violence Protection Order – or DVPO) and the length of the order is determined – this can be for up to 28 days.

The new measures give police the power to ban someone who is being violent to their partner or other family member from their homes for a length of time decided through the magistrates’ court (between 14 and 28 days). The order allows the Adult at Risk to stay in their own home rather than have to flee themselves (e.g. to a friend’s home, or a refuge), to escape the abuser. This is intended to give you vital respite and time to consider your options. You will be given information about local support agencies who can provide assistance to you and help you consider your options e.g. whether you want to secure a longer-term injunction against the person who is abusing you.

A Domestic Violence Protection Notice can contain details such as telling the person who is being abusive not to text, call, write, email or ‘facebook’ you. If the person being abusive to you lives at your address it will do the following:

  • Prohibit them from evicting or excluding you
  • Prohibit them from entering the address
  • Require them to leave the address
  • Prohibit them from coming within a specified distance of you.

The Police may arrest the abuser without a warrant if the police believe that they have breached the Domestic Violence Protection Order.

A breach of the order by the abuser can result in a fine from £50 to £5,000 or imprisonment for up to 2 months.

For more information see can be found on the South Yorlshire Police website.