Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is usually a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour by one person (or group) over another, often escalating from something seemingly small such as name calling or threats, to incidents of physical or sexual abuse. It can begin at any stage of a relationship, sometimes continuing after a relationship has ended. Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of gender, class, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle.

Suffering domestic violence can make a person vulnerable, eroding confidence and making the victim question their own worth. When people do reach out for help from a helpline or a specialist domestic violence service, it is often an enormous relief to know that they are not alone.

How can you recognise domestic abuse?

Some factors to help recognise if you, or someone you know, are in an abusive relationship include:

  • destructive criticism and verbal abuse
  • pressure tactics - sulking, threatening to withhold money, taking the car away
  • denial - saying the abuse doesn't happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour
  • harassment - following you, checking up on you, embarrassing you in public
  • physical/sexual violence
  • threats - shouting you down, threatening to kill or harm you
  • breaking trust - lying to you, withholding information from you, breaking promises.

Who is responsible for the abuse?

The abuser is - always. There is no excuse for domestic violence. According to Women's Aid, "blaming the victim" is something that abusers will often do. Blaming their behaviour on poor childhood, ill health, alcohol or drug addiction is an abuser's way of avoiding personal responsibility for their behaviour. It is important to let children know that the violence is not their fault.

How do we support families and victims of domestic abuse?

The Domestic Abuse Service provides practical and emotional support to families and victims of domestic abuse. The service does this by:

  • empowering victims of domestic abuse
  • providing a supportive and enabling environment for victims to report abuse
  • implementing additional security in the home
  • supporting referrals to other agencies
  • providing help with housing / tenancy issues
  • providing debt and benefits advice and guidance
  • providing emotional support to the individual and family
  • providing support around accessing legal advice

The service is open to anyone, regardless of gender, class, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle. The service is also open to families as well as victims of domestic abuse.

How can I report domestic abuse?

If you have been affected by domestic abuse, or believe that somebody you know is being abused, you can contact the Domestic Abuse service by email to or at the council offices:

Domestic Abuse Service
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House

Alternatively, you can report it to the police on 101. Always call the police on 999 in an emergency.

Resource Pack

Our electronic resource pack is suitable for carers who would like to know more about how to support those who are currently experiencing domestic abuse.

The pack contains: a survivors handbook; a risk assessment; safety planning guides; and promotional materials. If you would like to be sent a pack please email us.

Useful contacts

Please see below for other organisations that can help with domestic abuse:

Change Project
Domestic abuse prevention programme for any man or woman who wants to stop their abusive behaviour towards a partner or ex-partner.
Telephone: 0845 3727701

Freedom Project
Free foster care service for dogs belonging to women fleeing domestic violence

Advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence or domestic abuse.
Telephone: 0300 999 5428

Healthy Relationships, Healthy Babies
Free intensive support programme for expectant mums and dads who want the best for their family and unborn child.
Telephone: 07702 538080

Hertfordshire Sunflower
Hertfordshire’s helpline for the victims of domestic abuse and stalking.
Telephone: 08 088 088 088

National Domestic Violence Helpline
24-hour freephone for those suffering domestic violence.
Telephone: 0808 2000 247

Helpline offering information and advice to people who are abusive towards their partners and want help to stop.
Telephone: 0845 122 8609

Stevenage Women’s Refuge
A refuge in Stevenage for victims fleeing domestic violence.
Telephone: 01438 350243

Women’s Aid
A national organisation offering a wide range of assistance to women suffering domestic violence.
Telephone: 0808 2000247

Counselling Directory
A confidential service that encourages those in need to seek help and to connect individuals with qualified counsellors in the UK. The site contains information on the common reasons people turn to counselling, as well as articles, news, and events. To ensure the professionalism of our website, all counsellors have provided proof of membership with a professional body.


Domestic Abuse service leaflet

Poster - drop-in service

Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse annual report 2018-19

Contact details

Domestic Abuse Service
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House

01438 242666