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Domestic abuse

In 2021 the Domestic Abuse Act became law and a new definition of domestic abuse is now in use. The act states that 'domestic abuse covers a wide range of behaviours that are used to control, threaten or intimidate victims'. 

What is domestic abuse?

Behaviours are classed as domestic abuse if: 

  • both the individuals are over 16 years of age 
  • both the individuals are ‘personally connected’ to each other and the behaviour is abusive 

Behaviour is considered abusive if it consists of one or more of the following: 

  • Physical or sexual abuse 
  • Psychological or emotional abuse 
  • Coercive or controlling behaviour – intimidation, threats, humiliation that is used to punish, harm, isolate a victim and prevent them from enjoying life 
  • Economic abuse – any behaviour that prevents a victim having the ability to acquire, use or maintain money, or obtain goods or services 

It also recognises children as victims in their own right for the first time. This applies where the behaviour of a person (A) towards another person (B) is domestic abuse, as follows:

  • Any child, under 18,  who sees or hears or experiences the effect of domestic abuse
  • Is related to A or B:
    • A child is related to a person, if that person is the parent of, or has parental responsibility for the child
    • Is related to a person (other family member)

Who does it happen to?

It can happen to anyone, in all kinds of relationships – heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  

People experience domestic violence regardless of their social group, age, class, lifestyle, disability or sexuality.

It can begin at any time – in a new relationship or after many years together.

It includes:

  • physical abuse: pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons
  • sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography
  • financial abuse and economic abuse, for example, taking money, controlling finances, running up debt, not letting someone work, not giving them access to a car
  • coercive control: a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of violence
  • psychological and/or emotional abuse: making someone feel repeatedly bad or scared, stalking, emotionally blackmailing, constantly checking where they are, checking their phone or social media activity
  • digital or online abuse: using technology to further isolate, humiliate or control someone
  • honour-based violence: forced marriage or female genital mutilation

From 7 June 2022 a new offence of non-fatal strangulation was also introduced. Anyone who is strangled is now considered a high risk victim of domestic abuse and should be referred to MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Confence).

Please see the 7 minute brief below for further information:

Swindon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) employs a Domestic Abuse & Violence against Women & Girls (VAWG) Manager who works with agencies, organisation and communities to ensure a co-ordinated community response to domestic abuse and VAWG. Partners include Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SDASS), the Police and other criminal justice agencies, health and housing amongst others.   

Swindon domestic abuse strategies

The DA Act 2021 brings in a wide range of protective legislation and introduces a Statutory Housing Duty on all local authorities to provde safe accommodation and support to all victims of domestic abuse that need it.

The Swindon Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation Strategy 2021-2024 outlines how Swindon will implement the duties associated with the provision of safe accommodation and will be delivered alongside the updated Swindon Multi-Agency Domestic Abuse Strategy 2021-2024


CSP and SSP training in Domestic Abuse can be found by accessing the training pages on this site. 

Help and support

Advice and information numbers for Swindon

In an emergency always dial 999

Local numbers and contact information:

  • Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service - access to 24 hour emergency accommodation for victims, families, friends and professionals. Telephone: 01793 610610 24 hour helpline or go to the Domestic abuse website
  • Wiltshire Police - non-emergency number 101 
  • The Gables - Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). Telephone: 01793 781916 or got to the First Light website.  
  • Samaritans, Swindon - Telephone: 01783 537373 
  • Nelson Trust - Telephone: 01793 495812 or visit the Nelson Trust website.
  • Sexual Health Services - Advice or appointments. Telephone: 01793 604038 or visit the NHS website

Services to help those who want to change their behaviour and domestic abuse prevention

Swindon Borough Council 

  • Housing Needs Team. Telephone: 01793 445503. 
  • Out of hours. Telephone: 01793 466451. 
  • MASH. Telephone: 01793 466903. 
  • Adult Services – Careline. Telephone: 0800 085 6666. 
  • Emergency Duty Service (Social Services). Telephone: 01793 436699 (Evenings, nights, weekends and Bank Holidays) 
  • The Local Offer website 

National numbers:

Additional websites 

Domestic Homicide Review (DHR)

DHRs were established on a statutory basis under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

See the DHR webpage.