Domestic Abuse

This page offers information about the services we offer relating to domestic abuse.

Here you will find useful Northumberland contact details for domestic violence, abuse, sexual abuse and safeguarding issues.

 
Harbour Support Services is a specialist domestic abuse service that offers support to those living in Northumberland. 

Harbour can provide a range support services to both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. 

Harbour works with families and individuals who are affected by abuse from a partner, former partner or other family member.

We offer a range of services to help those experiencing abuse, including:
  • Refuge accommodation
  • Outreach/Assertive support
  • Empowerment Groups
  • Preventions Service
This is our Safety Plan - it helps you think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship or if you decide to leave.
 
Contact information:
NDAS has been providing domestic abuse services across Northumberland since 2008 supporting those affected by or experiencing domestic abuse living in Northumberland. We provide free and confidential services to everyone, our services are inclusive and non-discriminatory.

Our delivery model includes telephone response to victims from 9am to 5pm weekdays provided by trained professionals who provide immediate risk assessment and safety planning. Outside of these times a message can be left which will be responded to the next working day.  The answerphone message advises phoning the police if you are in immediate danger. 
 
Our services include:
  • Immediate Response (9am – 5pm weekdays)
  • Domestic Abuse Practitioners provide personalised practical and emotional support 
  • Counselling for the children and young people of our clients
  • Domestic Abuse Programmes delivered to people affected by domestic abuse 
  • Prevention and awareness-raising activities and training, to children and young people in school and youth group settings, to local communities and professionals
Our aim is to protect and empower all our service users by providing flexible and professional support throughout Northumberland.  Further details on all of our services can be found on our website.    
  • Telephone: 01434 608030 (9.00am – 5.00pm)
  • Webchat (9.30am – 3.00pm Monday to Friday)
Cygnus Support is a wellbeing service and registered charity supporting anyone over 14 years of age to achieve better mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Cygnus Support is funded by the Big Lottery Fund the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and is a partner in The Bridge Project which is funded by the European Social Fund and National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme.

Cygnus Support provides the following services free of charge to people living in Northumberland:
  • One to one counselling and psychotherapy
  • Specialist counselling for people who have experienced or are still experiencing domestic abuse and for victims of crime including sexual violence or assault
  • Recovery Toolkit Course for survivors of domestic abuse
  • Women’s only drop in service
  • Wellbeing courses e.g. relaxation, Tai Chi
They deliver services in their 5 hub areas of Ashington, Blyth, Hexham, Alnwick and Berwick.
Grace is part of Rape Crisis Tyneside Northumberland and supports women and girls aged 13 upwards who have experienced any kind of sexual violence at any time in their lives. Their services are for all women and girls; this includes those who identify as Lesbian, Bi, Trans and/or Queer and black and minority ethnic women and girls.  Also, refugees and those seeking asylum, and disabled women and girls as well as those with additional learning needs.

There are many forms of sexual violence including: rape, sexual assault, on-line sexual abuse, sending sexual images without consent, stalking, partner and stranger sexual abuse. Grace supports women and girls whether the abuse they experienced was recent or historic.

Offering:
  • Counselling; from women counsellors who are accredited by the BACP. There are a number of confidential outreach bases across Northumberland where counselling takes place.
  • Practical and Emotional support; specialising in supporting women and girls to navigate the criminal justice process and also offering support with housing, finances, employment, education, health, or just having someone to talk to who can provide reassurance and encouragement.
  • Helpline & Email Support: 0800 035 2794 or emailsupport@rctn.org.uk (Monday to Thursday 6pm - 8:30pm and Friday 11am - 2pm)
  • Telephone: 0191 222 0272 (General Enquiries & Referrals)
  • Website: http://www.gracenrc.org.uk/
Acorns works with children, young people and families affected by domestic abuse, and we are now offering the following services in Northumberland:

Counselling and play therapy
We invite children and young people to express themselves through words and/or through the medium of play using resources such as toys, sand, art, clay and music. Within the safety of a trusting relationship, non-directive techniques are used to support and empower children and young people to process their stories of domestic abuse and facilitate their own healing. We offer a minimum of 8 to 10 counselling/play therapy sessions, each of which is 50 minutes long. These sessions are usually delivered in schools, children’s centres and other similar community settings. 

Children & Young People’s Outreach
We draw on play and youth work approaches to provide a responsive, flexible approach to working with children and young people around their experiences of domestic abuse. We know that young people feel safer when they are listened to and their needs are respected and understood. For this reason we work creatively to offer choice and make use of a variety of venues and methods of working. This support may provide a suitable alternative for those who are perhaps not ready or unable to access counselling.

Our team of outreach workers can provide both practical and emotional support, including the following:
  • Psychoeducation and support plans based on individual needs
  • Emotional and therapeutic support
  • Advocacy
  • Information and advice and signposting
  • Flexible wrap around support for young people age 13+

Referral form and guidance: please email referrals@acornsproject.org.uk

Advice or queries: please call 0191 3498366

More infromation: see our website www.acornsproject.org.uk
REACH provides rape examination, advice, counselling and help. There are two centres, one in Newcastle and the other in Sunderland.
The Angelou Centre have launched their new helpline for agencies who are working with black and minority survivors of domestic and sexual violence and who have no recourse to public funds. 

The helpline can also be accessed directly by survivors who have queries around no recourse to public funds. You will be able to get expert advice and guidance on any issues relating to domestic and sexual violence. 

Helpline number: 0191 226 0394
Email: admin@angelou-centre.org.uk
Website: angelou-centre.org.uk
 
SomeOne Cares offers a free counselling service for survivors and supporters of abuse, specialising in childhood sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault.

Telephone: 0191 257 8094
Email: Enquiries@someonecares.org.uk
Website: someonecares.org.uk/
This website offers general advice about community safety in Northumberland, information about campaigns and links to other service providers.
The trust supports vulnerable adults who are being abused by the following means:
  • emotional abuse such as humiliation, harassment, social isolation, threats, verbal abuse and intimidation
  • neglect, where a person suffers because their health or physical needs are being neglected by a care giver
  • financial abuse, including theft, fraud or using a vulnerable adult’s property without permission
  • physical abuse, such as hitting, pushing, shaking, not giving the right medication and bodily neglect
  • sexual abuse, where a vulnerable adult cannot or does not give their consent, or sexual harrassment
For further information and support:
Telephone: 01670 536400 (24-7)
Website: https://www.northumbria.nhs.uk/quality-and-safety/keeping-patients-safe/safeguarding/
We all have a statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership has developed this website to provide easily accessible and up-to-date safeguarding information for professionals, children and young people, families and members of the public.

The site also provides some information on a range of safeguarding issues for parents and carers and children and young people in Northumberland. We provide links to the websites of other organisations where we know more advice on specific subjects is available.
Emergency: If a child is in immediate danger or left alone, you should contact the police or call an ambulance on 999.

If you think you or someone that you know has been the victim of abuse then please tell someone.

You can report abuse and neglect by completing the forms at the links below:
 
 
 
 
If you are concerned about a child and know that they already have a social worker, then please dial the direct contact number of the social worker. If you do not know the social worker's direct contact details, please call Onecall: 01670 536400 (24/7).

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a professional who works with children, you should first discuss your concerns with your manager or designated professional. If there are still concerns, please fill in this form. If you are a professional or NCC employee who has concerns around abuse or neglect of a child, please also fill in this form.
 
Early Help Assessments

To make a referral to the Early Help Hubs please send your referral to: earlyinterventionhub@northumberland.gov.uk   
For enquiries about completion or registrations of Early Help Assessments please contact Onecall01670 536400.
Here you will find information on Northumberland's response to domestic abuse.

Northumberland’s Community Safety Partnership, Children’s Strategic Safeguarding Partnership and Adult Safeguarding Board continue to recognise domestic violence and abuse and sexual violence as key priorities. The Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) and Sexual Violence (SV) multi-agency business group, recently changed to become the Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board and is tasked by the three boards to drive the agenda forward.

The Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board exists to coordinate strategy and maximise resources to afford protection, provision and prevention for those who have or are experiencing or at risk of, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Northumberland.

Our 2021-2024 Strategy can be found here and our Northumberland Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment
2021 here
.

This page was last updated 16 February 2022
 
If you suspect or know someone is affected by domestic violence you should approach this sensitively and, if a disclosure is made, explain to them that:
  • you will support them in any way you can, but be honest about your level of experience and refer to appropriate agencies who can offer a more appropriate level of support
  • inform them there are fully trained people who will understand their situation, and be able to help them
  • you will keep this information confidential, unless there is a statutory responsibility to safeguard children or vulnerable adults at risk, or others who may be at risk of significant harm or death
  • they are not alone. This is a significant hidden harm for many people. One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some stage in their lives
  • it is not their fault
  • you will listen to them and take them seriously
  • you will be there for them, regardless of their decisions
  • you will not judge them
  • you will help them find support and advice
  • you will not try to intervene
  • you will respect their need to be secretive, unless there is risk of significant harm or death
  • you do not expect them simply to  leave, because:
    • they may need help to leave
    • they may not want to leave
    • they may want the abuser to leave
It is important, when obtaining the contact details of a victim, any telephone numbers or addresses they provide are a safe means of contact. Whatever the circumstances, do not put yourself in a dangerous position and be careful not to endanger them further.
A list of local and national support agencies can be found on the pages below. See also this comprehensive directory on PCC Commissioned Victim Services 2021-22.

Further information can be provided by the Northumberland & North Tyneside Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Lesd on 01670 622 724 or email.
In early 2021 the County Council made the decision to work towards White Ribbon accreditation to cement, as an authority, its commitment to ending domestic abuse and sexual violence in the county.   

The White Ribbon Organisation is a charity that works to encourage everyone, and especially men and boys, to make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women and girls.  

White Ribbon Ambassadors are men who engage with other men and boys in their day to day lives to call out abusive and sexist behaviour and White Ribbon Champions are women who play an essential role by encouraging men to get involved and in finding opportunities to inspire and inform others through presentations, conversations and social media.  

Organisations across the county who wish to get involved and join the county council’s pledge to end domestic abuse can get in touch by clicking here for more information
This page provides information on child to parent violence and abuse (CPVA), previously known as adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA), but which is also known as adolescent to parent violence (APV), adolescent violence in the home (AVITH), parent abuse, child to parent abuse, child to parent violence (CPV), or battered parent syndrome

It is shocking when you are abused by your own child. Both boys and girls may use threatening behaviour, insult or swear at you, damage your home and physically hurt you or other brothers and sisters.

Your teenager may feel they can do this because they have seen a parent/carer act in this way and think that they can get away with it because nothing has been done to stop such behaviour in the past. They may not feel that there are ways of dealing with problems other than through violence. The influence of friends, alcohol and drugs can all play a part in the way your teenager reacts to situations. Stress in other areas of their lives - at school or with friends may be affecting them and leading them to hit out at you.
Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights and comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of female genitalia, or any other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

 
This section gives you information and contact details regarding forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

 
There is a clear distinction between a forced and an arranged marriage.

In arranged marriages, the family of both spouses take leading roles in arrangements, but the choice of whether to accept or not, remains with the prospective spouses.

In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not – or in the case of some vulnerable adults, cannot – consent to the marriage and duress is involved. This can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.

All practitioners working with victims of forced marriage need to be aware of the ‘one chance’ rule. That is, they may only have one chance to speak to a potential victim, and thus only one chance to save a life.

This means practitioners need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when they come across forced marriage cases. If a victim is allowed to leave without support, their chance may be lost.

Regardless of circumstances, victims have rights that should always be respected, such as safety and accurate information about their rights and choices. Practitioners should listen to and respect the wishes of the victim.

Disclosures of forced marriage should not be dismissed as a domestic issue. For many, seeking help is a last resort and therefore all disclosures should be taken seriously. Involving families in the case of forced marriages may increase the risk of serious harm to a victim.
The term ‘honour crime’ or ‘honour-based violence’ embraces a variety of crimes – mainly, but not exclusively against women. This includes assault, imprisonment and murder, where their family or community are punishing the victim.

They are being punished for undermining what the family/community believes to be the correct code of behaviour. In transgressing this, the victim shows they have not been properly controlled to conform and this is to be the ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ of the family.

Forced Marriage Unit
The government has set up the Forced Marriage Unit to provide practical support, information and advice. This is a joint initiative between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Home Office.

Forced marriage multi-agency practice guidelines
The unit has published a revised set of practice guidelines to help frontline professionals work more closely together and to better identify/protect children and adults at risk. Karma Nirvana
Established in 1993, Karma Nirvana has developed from a local project to an international project in relation to forced marriage and honour-based violence. Karma Nirvana supports women, men and couples. Honour Network is a project designed to support victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based violence.
Here you will find practical advice for people fleeing domestic abuse.

 
If a victim is thinking about leaving, they need to take with them:
  • money, credit cards
  • emergency numbers
  • any ID, birth and marriage certificates, driving licence, bank books, rent book, court orders/injunctions
  • house/car/office keys
  • passport/visa/work permit
  • address book
  • any medication
  • children’s favourite toy
  • change of clothes and toiletries
  • mobile phone and charger
You may want to leave an emergency bag with a trusted friend, relative or support agency.

Please see Harbour's domestic abuse Safety Plan - it helps you think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship or if you decide to leave.
There are many reasons why people stay in, or return to, abusive relationships. Here is a list of some of those reasons.

Emotional difficulties
  • Power - The coercive and controlling behaviour of the perpetrator of the abuse can be a factor.
  • Fear of partner - People are often terrified of being found by their abusers. Experience shows this fear is justified. Abusers will go to extraordinary lengths to trace their victims.
  • Fear of living alone - They may have been kept in isolation and feel they have no friends, or have been denied contact with their family. They may have been totally controlled and do not know how to cope alone.
  • Lack of self-respect/confidence - They may have come to believe all the names they have been called and therefore feel worthless.
  • Guilt - They may have been told it is their own fault, they have provoked him/her and therefore they get what they deserve.
  • Drugs/alcohol - Either of these can be used as a means of control.
  • Love - It is perfectly possible to love someone, but hate what they do. They may want the abuse to stop, but not the relationship.
  • Hope - Victims are often optimistic and want to believe the abuser when they say they won’t do it again.
Practical difficulties
  • Money - They may have no money of their own and no idea they are entitled to benefits.
  • Accommodation - Where will they go? Even if they know their way around the ‘system’, the prospect of moving to a refuge of B&B can be daunting.
  • Possessions - They may have to leave absolutely everything behind in the knowledge they are unlikely to see any of it again.
  • Children - They may feel guilty about uprooting their children from school, friends, family, pets and their other parents, with who they might have a good relationship. They may also fear the children may be taken away from them if they disclose domestic abuse.
  • Skills - If they have been controlled, given no money, clothes or social contacts, or more generally, no access to the public world, they may not know how to leave.
Below are contact details for useful support services that exist in our region.

 
Victims First Northumbria is an independent and free victim referral service. We put the victim at the heart of everything we do. We ensure victims of crime, whether referred by police, another agency, or self-referrals are contacted by a co-ordinator, who will give them help and support to cope and recover.

Being a victim of a crime can be traumatic and Victims First understands everyone’s differing needs and situations, always giving the best possible support, care and advice. PLEASE NOTE: During the COVID-19 restrictions, our helpline is not in operation; there are still multiple ways in which a victim or a third party organisation can get in touch with us: 
  • Live Chat - Our live chat service is manned 9am—4pm and anyone can access this via our website https:// victimsfirstnorthumbria.org.uk/, our website also has an online referral form.
  • Email - enquiries@victimsfirstnorthumbria.org.uk with any queries or a referral.
  • Text— 0786 495 9837 anyone can text this number requesting a call back or further support. This number is manned 9am—4pm. All referrals or requests for support will be followed up by a Coordinator within 48 hours.
MESMAC is a gay/bisexual men’s health project offering free HIV tests, advice and information on many different health issues including PEP (exposure to HIV treatment), counselling, sexual health services, sexually transmitted infections and much more. We also provide services such as group helplines and a drop-in service.

Our services are:
  • open to all gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, including those who are unsure if they’re gay or bisexual
  • for men who are HIV positive, negative or don’t know
  • confidential
Telephone: 0191 233 1333 (Monday to Friday 1pm - 5pm). Staff are currently working from home so leave a message (24 hour answer machine) for them to contact you back
Website: https://mesmacnewcastle.com/
The Dogs Trust offers free fostering service for dogs belonging to people fleeing domestic abuse.
Listed below are a number of national organisations who help victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, as well as safeguarding those who are vulnerable.

 
The 24-hour free phone national domestic violence helpline runs in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge and is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence. Family, friends, colleagues and others may call on their behalf. Refuge have a Tech Abuse & Tech Safety Resources for Survivors and Professionals.
The national stalking network has been established by Network for Surviving Stalking, Protection against Stalking and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. It is the first national helpline to specialise in providing information and advice to victims of harassment and stalking as well as their friends and family.
Women’s Aid have created this space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse and how to take positive action.
Mankind is the UK’s leading charity for supporting male victims of abuse.
Galop (previously known as Broken Rainbow National Helpline) provides the national helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people experiencing domestic violence.
This free phone helpline is for both female and male survivors, partners, friends and family. 
If you are a man who is worried about your behaviour towards your partner, or if you have been abusive or violent, you can get information from the respect phone line.
 
Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) England works to protect older people from abuse and neglect.
The Halo Project Charity is a national project that will support victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and FGM by providing appropriate advice and support to victims. We will also work with key partners to provide required interventions and advice necessary for the protection and safety of victims.

Tel: 08081 788 424 (free phone) if emergency or 01642 683 045 for non-emergencies
Website: https://www.haloproject.org.uk/
The National Centre for Domestic Violence provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation.
This UK charity is committed to ending gender based violence and abuse. AVA has resources such as the Silent Solution Guide (what to do if you need to call 999 but can't speak).
Please visit Safe Lives for information regarding Domestic Abuse and COVID-19. See also their Safety planning guide for victims and survivors during COVID-19.
Surviving Economic Abuse is the only UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it.

Website: https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/resources-for-professionals/

 
Crimestoppers are running a campaign across the North East to remind people that they can report any suspicions or concerns around domestic abuse. Crimestoppers is an independent charity that has existed for almost 32 years; any information provided to them will be passed onto the authorities and they will remain totally anonymous.

Website: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/personal-safety/domestic-abuse
 
This is a legal support service, designed to help protect women against domestic abuse.

A self-referral app has been created if it is difficult for a women isolating with her abuser to call us discreetly - women can contact us without having to call us or access an email account and this page can be accessed by clicking here. This is in addition to our existing referral app for statutory organisations and front line professionals which can be found by clicking here. We are also exploring other safe contact methods such as web chat and this should be live shortly.

Website: https://www.flows.org.uk/
Email: flows@rcjadvice.org.uk
Telephone: 0203 745 7707 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday).

Domestic abuse survivors can directly register for CourtNav without having to be referred by an organisation or the FLOWS team first. It is accessible 24/7 and directs survivors to domestically accredited legal aid providers who can assist them. For any technical difficulties accessing CourtNav, survivors can either email or call:

Email: CourtNav@rcjadvice.org.uk
Telephone: 0203 974 7899 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday and 10am-12pm on Saturdays. Closed on bank holidays).