Domestic abuse in Norfolk

Domestic abuse is everyone’s business. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, social group, class, race, disability or sexuality. Domestic abuse can affect both men and women, and it can occur in any relationship – heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, young or old. Older people can be victims of domestic abuse, but this may not always be picked up on.

What is domestic abuse?
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. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological.
  • Physical.
  • Sexual.
  • Financial.
  • Emotional.

* Family members are defined as mother, father, sister, brother and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step family.

At the end of December 2015, the Government introduced a new ‘coercive or controlling behaviour’ offence. The new offence closes a gap in the law concerning this type of behaviour in an ongoing relationship between intimate partners or family members. Victims can now bring to justice the perpetrators of behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse.

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 – covers assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation, or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten you.

Is domestic abuse a crime?
There is no single criminal offence of ‘domestic abuse’ but many forms of domestic abuse are crimes – for example, harassment, assault, criminal damage, attempted murder, rape and keeping you locked up in the house. Being assaulted, sexually abused, threatened or harassed by a partner or family member is just as much a crime as abuse from a stranger, and often more dangerous.

Further support services

There are a number of agencies providing either practical or emotional support that you can contact. For further details, visit: and search for ‘domestic abuse’.

Contact the police if you know someone is suffering from abuse, email: or visit: to find out more.

Always dial 999 in an emergency.

If you think that a child, vulnerable adult or another person is at risk of domestic abuse in Norfolk and want to speak to someone, contact Norfolk County Council on: 0344 800 8020.

You can also call the National Domestic Violence 24-hour helpline on: 0808 2000 247.

If you are being violent or abusive towards a current or previous partner ring the Respect phone line on: 0808 802 4040.