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Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse support service for Norfolk

People in Norfolk and their children who are at medium or high risk of serious harm from domestic abuse can now access an improved service to support their journey to freedom.

Norfolk Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (NIDAS) launched on 3 January 2022 and offers free, confidential and non judgemental support to those affected, and their children, to help them escape and recover from abuse.

This service is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council - along with South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils.  It will be delivered in partnership with Leeway Domestic Violence & Abuse Services, Daisy Programme, Orwell Housing, Pandora Project and Safe Partnership.

Domestic abuse is an incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour - including sexual violence.

NIDAS trauma-informed, person centred skilled staff can support those at risk of harm to get to safety and will develop a personalised action plan with everyone they work with, to help people to move from abuse with increased confidence and well-being.  The service will be operational seven days a week between 9am and 6.30pm on weekdays and between 9am and 3pm on weekends.

For more information visit the NIDAS website

Alternatively, NIDAS can be contacted in the following ways:


Domestic Abuse Act 2021

This Act passed into law in April 2021 and has been implemented through 2021 and 2022.

(July 2022) The Home Office has released statutory guidance for Domestic Abuse (PDF also attached) to support the understanding of the definitions of ‘domestic abuse’ and ‘personally connected’ as set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. It also conveys standards and promotes best practice. 

Section 84(4) of the 2021 Act requires persons exercising public functions, to whom the guidance relates, to have regard to the guidance in the exercise of those functions. Some organisations may also have specific statutory duties to safeguard victims of domestic abuse. This guidance should therefore be read in conjunction with other relevant guidance and codes of practice.

This guidance has been subject to extensive engagement by the Home Office with experts from the sector, independent commissioners, academics, and those on the frontline and is aimed at organisations working with victims, perpetrators and commissioning services, including the police, local authorities, and the NHS. It is also of relevance to organisations dealing with consequences of domestic abuse such as employers and financial institutions.

Domestic Abuse Act 2021 statutory guidance

The government have also produced some factsheets to explain what the Act is designed to achieve and how it will do this. Below are just some of them, but you can see the full list here.

Overarching View of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Statutory definition of domestic abuse

 Secure tenancies and victims of domestic abuse

 See also:

 NIDAS - Factsheet overview of the DA Act 2021

Domestic abuse refers to an incident, or pattern of incidents of violence or abuse, including controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, by someone who is or has been an intimate partner or family member, regardless of gender or sexuality. Domestic abuse is not just about partners – it can relate to all family relationships including forced marriage.

For this type of abuse the age range is extended down to 16. It includes:

  • psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse
  • so called ‘honour’ based violence
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • it also includes being a witness to domestic abuse of another person.

The Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership has produced a series of short films for people to think about the different types of domestic abuse - you can see them on the Norfolk County Council website here.

Remember men can experience domestic abuse too - there is information on support for male victims on the Norfolk County Council pages too.

A key issue with domestic abuse is the length of time victims will stay in the abusive relationship - for a powerful insight into why this might be, watch this 15 minute video:

Coercive control

Coercive control is now recognised as the behaviour that underpins much domestic abuse. It is a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away the victim’s sense of self, minimising their freedom of action and violating their human rights. This can happen through isolation, threats, intimidation, punishments, until the victim's 'choices' are no longer their own.

A new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate and family relationships was introduced in the Serious Crime Act 2015. The Home Office published statutory guidance at the same time, giving more detail.

“The offence closes a gap in the law around patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour during a relationship between intimate partners, former partners who still live together, or family members, sending a clear message that it is wrong to violate the trust of those closest to you, providing better protection to victims experiencing continuous abuse and allowing for earlier identification, intervention and prevention.” (Care Act Guidance section 14.22)

Research in Practice for Adults (RiPfA) has a range of resources to support social workers to put the law into practice, in their open access account. They have some short video introductions to coercive control of people with care and support needs.

The quick video below also helps us to understand where the line may be in relationships:

Coercive Control - where is the line?

CoCoAwareness: Luke Hart, and his brother Ryan Hart, share their family’s story of coercive control and domestic homicide. In 2017 they released their book, Remembered Forever, and set up their organization, CoCoAwareness, to increase the awareness of coercive control. So far, their work has taken them to over 13 countries and they have trained tens of thousands of professionals in identifying, understanding, and ending domestic abuse. 

They are White Ribbon Ambassadors and Refuge Champions speaking out against male violence towards women and children. They have also worked with the charity Level Up to produce and advocate for the acceptance of domestic homicide reporting guidelines and have received a number of awards for their work in raising awareness – including the Lincolnshire Police Outstanding Contribution to Public Service 2018/2019, BBC Inspirations 2020 award and the Big Issue’s Top 100 Changemakers of 2020.

Luke and Ryan have spoken to many colleagues in Norfolk through seminars organised by NSAB, they are powerful and inspiring speakers with a very personal view of this subject to share.

Read more about their work and view their website here.

S42 (safeguarding adults) and domestic abuse

Situations where domestic abuse occurs will not necessarily involve those who have care and support needs, and as a result are unable to protect themselves. Norfolk has well-established domestic abuse services, support and pathways and there are some links to more information below.

However, where the safeguarding duties apply, and a s42 enquiry is taken forward, workers will use the process to focus on the specific needs of that adult at risk, identifying their desired outcomes (Making Safeguarding Personal) while still including advocacy, ensuring multi-agency support (which can include police investigation) and enabling access to specialist domestic abuse support in the same way as the standard domestic abuse pathways.

Research (mainly on women) has shown that domestic abuse has additional impacts on people with care and support needs – for example:

  • Being disabled strongly affects the nature, extent and impact of abuse. Research has shown that people’s impairments are frequently used in the abuse, including humiliation.
  • Many abusers deliberately use and increase dependency on them as a way of asserting and maintaining control; where the abusive person is also the carer, they have considerable power and control as the victim relies on them.
  • Sexual abuse appears to be proportionately more common for disabled than for non-disabled women, perhaps reflecting particular vulnerabilities.
  • Perpetrators often use forms of abuse that exploit, or add to, the abused person’s impairment. (Making the Links, Women’s Aid 2008)

Clare's Law

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (the “DVDS”) – often referred to as “Clare’s Law” after the tragic case of Clare Wood, who was murdered by her former partner in Greater Manchester in 2009 – was rolled out across all 43 police forces in England and Wales in March 2014.

The DVDS was introduced to set out procedures that could be used by the police to disclose information about previous violent or abusive offending, including emotional abuse, controlling or coercive behaviour, or economic abuse by an individual, where this may help protect their partner or ex-partner, and any relevant children, from violent or abusive offending. A review of the DVDS was conducted in 2015.

The DVDS did not introduce any new legislation. It relies on the police’s common law power to disclose information where it is necessary to prevent crime and provides structures and processes in order to exercise those powers. It does not in itself provide or create new legal powers to disclose information, but provides a framework for disclosure in these particular circumstances. It does not have any impact on other lawful disclosures by police in circumstances that fall outside the scope of the DVDS.

There is more information on the government website here: Guidance on the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

Making Invisible Men Visible

Mankind Initiative have developed a short guide with a range of suggestions to help Local Domestic Abuse Partnership Boards to identify male victims of domestic abuse and to help ensure their voices are heard.

Making Invisible Men Visible

Mankind Initiative website homepage


Inclusive domestic abuse programme for victims and survivors

Alumah are running "a 10 week Programme for the victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence. Developed specifically for those that feel they don’t fit into ‘the boxes’ of society.

Current programmes are predominantly aimed and focused on the heterosexual norms of society: ie: Male abuser/Female victim. We need to get away from this stereotypical viewpoint and begin to look at and understand domestic abuse from a wider viewpoint. An abuser can be anyone, and so can a victim. It is a human experience and can affect any one of us at any given time.

The aim of this programme is to provide everyone with support and guidance, as well as the tools to deal with the effects of domestic abuse. To provide a safe, supportive, non-judgemental and inclusive environment, enabling individuals the opportunity to gain a positive perspective and response to domestic abuse and intimate partner violence issues. This will promote and help reinforce a positive future away from domestic abuse."

For more information, contact [email protected]

 or visit


Domestic Homicide Reviews

Domestic Homicide Reviews are locally conducted multi-agency reviews of 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, or with whom he or she was or had been in an intimate personal relationship; or,
  • a member of the same household as himself or herself.

You can find some Norfolk DHRs here which we used to publish on behalf of Norfolk Community Safety Partnership (NCSP), and the link to the NCSP website for more recent DHRs.