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Domestic Abuse is Not OK

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Do you feel safe in your home?

You do not have to suffer abuse alone and there are people here at CHS who can help

Domestic abuse can happen in any household. It is widespread and under-reported, and can happen to men or women. Abuse generally has a negative impact on a person’s mental and/or physical well-being and also affects the emotional and social well-being of children in the household. It need not be physical violence – it may be emotional, psychological, financial or controlling behaviour. CHS is opposed to all forms of domestic abuse (whether between partners / ex-partners or between other family members and against vulnerable adults) and will positively support those who experience it. We will take strong action against the perpetrators of domestic violence where we have the power to do so, and work with partner agencies to help to increase the choices for those who are abused. If you commit domestic abuse it is a breach of your tenancy agreement. We adopt a person-centred approach. We aim to:

  • Listen, support and take a non-judgemental approach
  • Take the action you want if you’re experiencing domestic abuse
  • We work closely with other agencies to make sure that together we make the greatest impact to stop any abuse

“Domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer”



Different types of abuse

Domestic abuse can take many forms.  Whilst the majority of cases involve male partner/ex-partner abuse on  women, an estimated 3.6% of men in 2020 experienced domestic abuse and 1.6% of adults experienced abuse from family members   

Different types of abuse

· Physical can include pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons

· Psychological is when you are subjected or exposed to a situation that can result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder

· Emotional abuse/coercive control is the act of repeatedly making you feel bad, intimidated or scared and can include threatening or controlling behaviour, blackmailing, constantly criticising or checking up on you, or playing mind games. Coercive control is now a criminal offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015

· Gaslighting can include insisting you said or did things you know you didn’t do; deny or scoff at your recollection of events; call you “too sensitive” or “crazy” when you express your needs or concerns; express doubts to others about your feelings, behaviour and state of mind; twisting or retelling events to shift blame to you

· Sexual abuse is when you are forced or pressured to have sex without your consent (rape), unwanted  sexual activity, touching, groping or being made to watch pornography

· Financial abuse involves a perpetrator using or misusing money which limits and controls your current and  future actions and freedom of choice. It can include using credit cards without your permission, putting contractual obligations in your name, and gambling with family assets

· Digital / online abuse involves the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate you.  Often this behaviour is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online

· So-called ‘honour-based’ violence is a crime or incident committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of a family or community. If your family or community think you’ve shamed or embarrassed them by  behaving in a  certain way, they may punish you for breaking their ‘honour’ code

· Forced marriage is where one or both people do not, or cannot, consent (agree) to the marriage.  Forced marriages can happen to anyone from any background and nationality and can affect both males and females. It doesn’t only happen to young people; it can happen to adults too.  This is different to ‘arranged marriage’ where there’s a choice and both people agree to it.

· Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other  injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.  It is usually performed without permission and against will and violates a girl’s right to make important decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. At least 200 million girls and women alive today in 30 countries worldwide have been subjected to FGM.

· Elder abuse involves an act or lack of appropriate action which causes harm or distress to an older person

· Adolescent to parent violence and abuse is a form of behaviour by a young person to control and dominate their parents

Domestic abuse within the Gypsy & Traveller community

Research shows that domestic abuse is a significant health issue for the Gypsy & Traveller community. A recent study estimated that between 60% – 80% of women from travelling communities experience domestic abuse during their lives, compared to 25% of the female population generally. While many incidents of domestic abuse are perpetrated by husbands and intimate partners, other family members may also be perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is often accepted as normal for many women. Trapped by culture, poor literacy and education, distrust of the police and social services, and fear of separation from family and friends, Gypsy and Travellers are far less likely to report an incident or to seek help.

Domestic abuse, often physical violence, impacts upon the victim’s mental health and upon their children. The isolated nature of the communities can also lead to domestic abuse being seen as normal by successive generations of both men and women. This is a very hard to reach and vulnerable part of society who face discrimination on individual, institutional and societal levels.

Barriers to accessing Services and Support

  • Loss of community
  • Fear of racism
  • Concerns about living in a house
  • Beliefs that it is impossible to escape violence as the partner will find the women and children
  • Lack of knowledge of mainstream services and mistrust of authority
  • Racism by or within some refuges
  • Many refuges unable to take large families
  • Some refuges won’t take more than one Traveller woman

While the close-knit nature of Gypsy and Traveller communities is supportive, it can also act as a barrier to seeking help if a woman is unable to access services privately or is concerned that a member of the community may tell the perpetrator.

Further accessibility issues such as problematic access to telephones and difficulty reading correspondence; make contacting services difficult for victims. Low literacy levels and frequent movement are likely to have an impact on victim’s knowledge of the services available.

This lack of knowledge and awareness often means that victims are left with little choice but to remain with the perpetrator(s). When a victim decides to leave an abusive relationship, they may also have to leave their whole community, which can mean leaving their culture and way of life and facing the prejudice of the settled population alone.

Cultural and social taboos exist amongst all travelling groups against involving the police when violence occurs. There is a cultural resistance to engage with the police for fear of repercussions from within the traveller community. Experiences of racism and inequality discourage many victims from accessing mainstream services, as well as a lack of understanding of the cultural issues and barriers that exist among professionals.

Frontline services which may be able to identify cases of domestic abuse such as GPs are not always accessible to Gypsy and Traveller Women. Research has found evidence of large numbers of GPs who will not accept Travellers onto their practice lists. Due to these barriers it makes seeking help even more difficult for victims from Gypsy + Travelling backgrounds.

If you or someone you know are a member of the Gypsy & Traveller community experiencing domestic abuse, there are places you can go for help. If you are a CHS tenant, you can talk in confidence with your housing officer who will talk through the different types of support available. Alternatively, you can access specialist support by reporting it to One Voice 4 Travellers or completing this online form


Please note that we cannot accept responsibility for the content of any external sites. This information is for signposting only. 

Forced marriage


Any person may be forced into marriage – this includes people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and religions. A forced marriage is where one or both people do not or cannot consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used to force them into the marriage. It is also when anything is done to make someone marry before they turn 18, even if there is no pressure or abuse.

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK. It is a form of domestic abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

Forcing someone to marry isn’t always physical, but it is always against the law.

The pressure put on a person to marry can take different forms:

  • physical pressure might take the form of threats or violence (including sexual violence)
  • emotional or psychological pressure might take the form of making someone feel they are bringing shame on their family, making them believe that those close to them may become vulnerable to illness if they don’t marry, or denying them freedom or money unless they agree to the marriage

But when the person who is to get married is aged under 18, doing anything to make them marry is a crime – it doesn’t have to be pressure. In some cases, people may be taken abroad without knowing that they are to be married. When they arrive in that country, their passport(s)/travel documents may be taken to try to stop them from returning to the UK.

What is consent?

For a marriage to be consensual, it must be entered into freely by both people getting married. You should feel you have a choice. Legally, people with certain learning disabilities or severe mental health conditions are not able to consent to marriage, even if they feel the marriage is what they want.

What is an arranged marriage?

When it comes to the marriage of adults, an arranged marriage is not the same as a forced marriage. In an arranged marriage, the families take a leading role in choosing the marriage partner, but both individuals are free to choose whether they want to enter into the marriage. When it comes to the marriage of children (up to 18), there is no distinction between arranged marriage and forced marriage. Doing anything to cause a child to get married is a forced marriage – and a crime. If you consent to marry, but later change your mind – yet still feel that you will be required to go ahead with the marriage – that is a forced marriage too.

Who is at risk?

Although young women and girls are more likely to be victims of forced marriage, men and women of all ages, ethnicities and religions can be forced into an unwanted marriage including some for the LGBTQ+ community as well as those with learning disabilities or living with dementia.

Warning signs

Warning signs that someone may be at risk of forced marriage or may have been forced to marry may include:

  • running away from home
  • self-harming or attempted suicide
  • depression, or becoming worried or withdrawn
  • poor performance at work, school or college or unexplained absence
  • a surprise engagement to a stranger you’ve not heard of before
  • a sudden holiday (some people are tricked into going abroad for a holiday or to see relatives)
  • no control over their own money
  • not returning from a visit to another country

Where CAN I get help?

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. If you or someone you know is being forced into marriage either in the UK or abroad, you can contact the Forced Marriage Unit.  The Forced Marriage Unit provides support and advice for victims, those at risk and professionals. The Forced Marriage Unit can provide advice and assistance both before and after you report to the police, and also if you choose not to report at all. The support offered ranges from providing information and guidance to helping British victims overseas return to the UK.

The Forced Marriage Unit can offer advice and support to anyone who is in the UK, regardless of nationality. Overseas, our British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates can provide consular assistance to British nationals (including dual nationals), and in certain circumstances to a Commonwealth national. Call: (+44) (0) 207 008 0151 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (+44) (0) 207 008 1500 Global Response Centre (out of hours) Email:



How to recognise warning signs

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

Most people will experience some difficulties in their relationships, but to know whether a relationship is abusive you should look at how the behaviour of your partner or family member makes you feel. If you feel intimidated, controlled or unable to speak out, that’s abuse.

Sign of an unhealthy relationship or abusive relationship

· I’m feeling more stressed or worried all the time; I feel nauseous or have bad butterflies.

· I feel anxious and stressed in my partner’s presence and scared of how my partner will react to a situation

· I feel a lot more critical of myself

· I give up on my own opinions and think my partner is right about everything

· I have that ‘dreaded’ feeling more often

· I avoid saying something because you don’t want to upset my partner

· I’m feeling a pressure to change who I am or move the relationship further than you want to.

· I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

· I’m staying in more and seeing less of family and friends to avoid arguments with my partner.

· I start believing that I’m unattractive, or lucky to have a partner at all

· They make threats and do things that make me feel frightened

· They put me down just to make me feel bad when we’re alone or around friends

· They criticise me and makes me doubt myself, or doubt things happening around me

· They tell me the abuse is my fault, or that I’m overreacting

· They make me do things that I don’t want to do without listening to me

· They make me feel guilty if I don’t spend time with them, so I don’t have the freedom to do things you want to do

· They don’t try to get on with my friends or family and tell me who I can and can’t see

· They hit, slap or push me

· They look through my phone, emails, letters, social media or web history

· They control my finances and I’m not being given enough to buy food, medication or pay bills

· They want to know where I am all the time or stop me leaving leave my house, or going to college or work

· They cheat on me or accuse me of cheating on them.

· They steal from me or make me buy them things.

· They make me have sex when I don’t want to.

Why people stay in abusive relationships

There are lots of different reasons why people stay in abusive relationships

· You might feel frightened to leave, as you worry that the person abusing you will try and stop you and become even more violent

· You might rely on the person abusing you for practical or financial support

· You worry about losing your home and access to your children or family members

· You may enjoy the good times you have with them and keep    hoping it won’t happen again

· They may have threatened to harm people you care about if you leave

· You may be reliant on the person abusing you because of your legal or immigration status

· You may feel you have no choice but to stay

How to support a friend if they are being abused

If you are worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong.

They might not be ready to talk but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to

If someone confides in you that they are suffering domestic abuse:

· listen, and take care not to blame them

· acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse

· give them time to talk, but don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to

· acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation

· tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said

· support them as a friend – encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions

· don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready – that’s their decision

· ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP

· help them report the assault to the police if they choose to

· be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse

How to cover your tracks online

Warning: if you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.

How can an abuser discover your internet activities?

Please take a few minutes to read the warning below and to take steps to increase your safety when visiting this website.

Click the red Quick Exit button above to leave this website quickly.  This will prevent a perpetrator from using the ‘back’ button to visit any pages you have been reading on our website but it will appear as ‘recently closed’ on your ‘history’ which you may be asked to explain.

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, information entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. Please follow the instructions below to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Private browsing

All leading web browsers have a “private browsing” mode that, once enabled, stores nothing about your activity on your computer in that browsing window. This won’t stop online services from seeing what you get up to, but it won’t leave any traces of your activity on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s always a useful first step to take.

Internet Explorer: Go to Safety – Tools – “InPrivate Browsing”.

Firefox: Click the Menu button with three horizontal lines – “New Private Window”.

Chrome: Click the Menu button with three horizontal lines and select “New Incognito Window”.

Similar options can be found in Opera and Safari.

It is also best to double check that nothing has been stored by following the steps below.

Internet Explorer

Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labelled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.


Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to Cache and Saved Form Information.

Deleting your browsing history

Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Ctrl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say, right click and choose Delete.


If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, etc.) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in deleted items separately. Right click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.


Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.

Don’t forget to log out

If you use our Survivor’s Forum, don’t forget to log out of your account when you have finished your browsing session so no one else can log in as you.

General security

If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

All of the above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

Where to go to get help

Never forget that it is a crime for someone you know to abuse you in your own home or anywhere else

Whether they are your partner, a family member or someone you share your home with. Whatever the person abusing you might say, physical and emotional violence like this is never your fault.  Nobody has the right to abuse you in this way. You may be made to feel responsible and guilty for the abuse, but the source of the problem is the abuser, not you.

If you recognise any of the early warning signs in your relationship, then there are people who can listen and help you decide your next steps. You might not want or feel able to end your relationship at the  moment, but it’s important that you get help to end the abuse. Without intervention, it’s unlikely that the abuse will stop on its own.

There are many ways that you can ask for help and you don’t always need to report to the police. These could include:

· A trusted family member or friend – remember they might not react in the way you expect as they’re not trained in domestic abuse. However, getting the support of a friend to go with you to a specialist agency can be an important first step

· Visit a pharmacy and ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) which is a  codeword scheme that enables victims of domestic abuse to discreetly ask for immediate help in participating pharmacies

· Visit a Safe Space – Retailers Boots, Morrisons pharmacies, Superdrug pharmacies, Well pharmacies, independent pharmacies, HSBC and TSB banks across the UK provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse. You can use a safe space in whichever way works for you. They provide a safe and discrete way to reach out to friends and family and contact specialist support services. Safe Spaces are open and ready for you to use – find at Safe Space at

· If you are at risk of harm or it is an emergency, you should always call 999

Specialist confidential support services

  • Aanchal Women’s Aid is an organisation that supports women and their children by offering a free and confidential service for Asian women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. Services include a telephone helpline, emotional support, group work and counselling. They also provide advice on housing, matrimonial matters, welfare rights, debt and referrals to solicitors. 0800 1024 924
  • Ashiana Network – Specialist refuge, advice, support and counselling services for black and minority ethnic women and girls (14+) affected by domestic violence, sexual violence, forced marriage, honour based violence, female genital mutilation and women who have no recourse to public funds – 0208 539 0427
  • Cambridge Women’s Aid 01223 460947
  • DASS Domestic Abuse Support Service (available across Cambridgeshire) 01234 264109 confidential service to help develop support and safety plans
  • FORWARD African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls. They are a campaign and support charity tackling all forms of abuse and discrimination, from female genital mutilation and child marriage to domestic and sexual violence.  FGM Support Line: 0208 960 4000, extension 1 // 07834 168 141 General Enquiries: 0208 960 4000
  • Galop – Our team has decades of experience in supporting LGBT+ people who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, so-called conversion therapies, honour-based abuse, forced marriage, and other forms of abuse 0800 999 5428
  • IKWRO – IKWRO’s mission is to protect Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls who are at risk of ‘honour-based’ violence, forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence and to promote their rights. They provide services including advocacy and counselling.  Phone: 0207 920 6460 (9:30am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday).  In emergencies only: 07846 275 246 (Arabic/ Kurdish) and 07846 310 157 (Farsi/ Dari/ Turkish).
  • IMECE – Aim to empower Black, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BMER) women, particularly Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot women and improve the quality of their lives. They deliver holistic support services and counselling to survivors of VAWG.  0207 354 1359
  • Jewish Women’s Aid – Supporting Jewish women and children affected by domestic abuse & sexual violence. They provide immediate practical and emotional support, counselling, children’s therapy and support groups.  Domestic abuse helpline: 0808 801 0500 Sexual violence support line: 0808 801 0656
  • Karma Nirvana – Supports women and men who are experiencing or have experienced forced marriage and honour-based abuse. 0800 5999 24 or via the form on the website
  • Latin American Women’s Aid – Runs the only two refuges in Europe by and for Latin American women and children fleeing gender-based violence. We also offer holistic and intersectional services, providing everything a BME woman needs to recover from abuse and live empowered lives. 020 7275 0321
  • Mankind – support service for male victims of abuse  01823 334244
  • Men’s Advice Line – support service for male victims of abuse Freephone 0808 8010327
  • My Body Back – Clinics especially for women and trans men who have experienced sexual violence, giving access to maternity care, cervical screening, STI checks, and coil fittings and removals.
  • National Victim Support 0845 3030 900
  • One Voice 4 Travellers – Support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Women in East Anglia – 01945 430 724 E-mail: One Voice 4 Travellers Limited, 3A Country Park, Jubilee Lane, Marshland St James, Wisbech PE14 8JD
  • Refuge  this is a 24-hour confidential helpline where you can talk anonymously and ask for general information, advice and guidance 0808 2000 247
  • Respond – Supports people with learning disabilities who have been affected by abuse or trauma 0808 808 0700
  • Solace Women’s Aid – Dedicated Irish/Irish Traveller caseworker (London based). Have a specialist domestic abuse helpline that is available for all Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women looking for help in the UK. Tel: 0754 1637 795
  • Southall Black Sisters – A group of black and minority women that aim to highlight and challenge all forms of gender-related violence against women and empower them to gain more control over their lives. They offer specialist advice, information, casework, advocacy, counselling and self-help support services in several community languages, especially South Asian languages.  0208 571 9595 (Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm) – Helpline: 0208 571 0800 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30 am – 4:30 pm)
  • Street Talk – Street Talk is a counselling service for women trapped in street-based prostitution, as well as women who have been the victims of trafficking.  07913 817 046
  • Woman’s Trust – Specialist mental health charity, providing free counselling and therapy for women who have experienced domestic abuse. 020 7034 0303
New national Domestic Abuse website

Refuge runs the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247) which provides free, confidential support to women experiencing all forms of domestic abuse. The team links women to emergency accommodation, and provides emotional support and empower women with information about their rights and options, helping to increase your safety and that of your children – and begin to rebuild their lives. Refuge also has a digital Helpline platform: The website is an easy to navigate where women (and friends, family and professionals supporting women) can:

  • Find out about your rights and options – for example, in relation to housing, child contact, criminal and civil remedies
  • Contact Helpline workers via a secure web contact form that puts the power in women’s hands to decide the best time to talk.
  • Find support to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and begin to process your own experiences
  • Gain reassurance about what it is like to call the Helpline and what you can expect
Visit a Safe Space

Safe Spaces

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with Boots, Morrisons pharmacies, Superdrug pharmacies, Well pharmacies, independent pharmacies, HSBC and TSB banks across the UK to provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse. You can use a safe space in whichever way works for you. They provide a safe and discrete way to reach out to friends and family, and contact specialist support services.

How to access a Safe Space

  • Walk into any participating safe space in the UK
  • Ask a member of staff at the counter to use their safe space
  • You will be shown to the Safe Space which will be a private room
  • Once inside you can use the safe space in whichever way works for you. They provide a safe and discrete way to reach out to friends and family, contact specialist support services and start your journey to recovery.

Safe Spaces are open and ready for you to use. Just click on the link below to locate spaces in the area needed.

Safe Spaces Locations – UK SAYS NO MORE

Ask for ANI at a pharmacy

Ask for ANI codeword scheme

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) is a codeword scheme that enables victims of domestic abuse to discreetly ask for immediate help in participating pharmacies.

The scheme was developed by the Home Office with the help of partners including the domestic abuse sector, pharmacy associations and the police. It was launched across the UK on 14 January 2021. The scheme is now managed by Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign.

Over half of UK pharmacies, including Boots, Lloyds and community pharmacies, are now enrolled in the scheme. People from across the UK have been supported by pharmacists to access support from the police or domestic abuse services.

Our CHS Domestic Abuse Policy


Click here for our Domestic Abuse Policy.

For more information read our article and see our tips on how to cover your tracks online

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