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Domestic abuse

Our ambition for West Northamptonshire is that everyone can live safely and experience healthy relationships without the threat of domestic abuse or sexual violence.

We want to ensure that everyone has the chance to live safely without the fear of being harmed by domestic or sexual violence, working in partnership with organisations across the county.

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is categorised by 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:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • psychological
  • sexual
  • financial

This definition includes honour-based abuse and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically, just one encounter counts as abuse, and it can be an ongoing pattern of behaviour. However, the one constant element of domestic abuse is the abuser's consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the victim.

Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or social background. If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, it’s likely you’re a victim of domestic abuse.

You may be feeling frightened, isolated, ashamed or confused. If you have children it may be that they too are suffering, whether they witness abuse or not.

Remember, you are not to blame for what is happening. You are not alone, and above all you do not have to suffer in silence.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts performed by the abuser and designed to make their victim subordinate and / or dependent.

These acts include but are not limited to:

  • isolating the victim from sources of support
  • exploiting the victim's resources and capacities for personal gain
  • depriving the victim of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • regulating the victim's everyday behaviour

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used by the abuser to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.

Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence.

Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimised or overlooked – even by the person being abused.

Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behaviour also fall under emotional abuse.

There's no honour in threatening or harming vulnerable people with violence. However, a small minority of both women and men experience violence and threats at the hands of their family or community in order to protect their perceived ‘honour’ (family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family).

There's nothing religious or cultural about this violence. It's a crime and we'll take seriously any information received from any source relating to this subject.

If you're in fear of such violence or believe another may be suffering, do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation. Honour-based violence takes lives.

Domestic abuse strategy - 2021 to 2025

Our domestic abuse strategy reflects what we have learnt from our needs assessment, the review of the domestic abuse accommodation and support pathways in Northamptonshire conducted on our behalf by Red Quadrant.

Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs)

Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) were established on a statutory basis under Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and came into force on 13 April 2011.

Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) are responsible for undertaking DHRs where the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse, or neglect by a relative, household member or someone they have been in an intimate relationship with.

A review panel led by an independent chair and consisting of representatives from statutory and voluntary agencies is commissioned to undertake the DHR. The panel reviews each agency's involvement in the case and makes recommendations to improve responses in the future. The panel will also consider information from the victim's family, friends, and work colleagues.

DHRs are not enquiries into how someone died or who is to blame, nor do they form part of a disciplinary process. They do not replace, but are in addition to, an inquest and any other form of enquiry into a homicide.

The purpose of DHRs is to consider the circumstances that led to the death and to identify where responses to the situation could be improved in the future. Lessons learned from the reviews will help agencies to improve their response to domestic abuse and to work better together to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.

The home office has published Statutory Guidance on how to complete DHRs and will be developing a national on-line repository for all reviews.

The following DHRs have been conducted in the West Northamptonshire area:

Last updated 18 May 2022