As we prepare for November’s 16 days of action campaign, we shine the spotlight on Domestic Abuse.

Q. What is domestic abuse?

The term domestic abuse covers a wide variety of actions and behaviours as seen in this definition. Its affects can be long lasting and devastating. Domestic Abuse is a contributing factor to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the two are closely linked.
Gloucestershire operates under the cross-government national definition of domestic abuse (2013):

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 encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependant 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 is: an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victims. 

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

 Q. Tell us more about the link with domestic abuse and ACEs?

 Children that live in a household where domestic abuse is a factor experience ACEs. Whether they are witnessing, hearing or being involved in incidents themselves they will over time learn to normalise this behaviour. If these ACES are left unresolved then there is a likely and strong pattern of these young people growing up and having unhealthy and abusive relationships themselves, whether that be as a victim of domestic abuse or a perpetrator of abuse. 

Q. What do we do in Gloucestershire to tackle domestic abuse and support those affected? 

There is a County Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Strategic Coordinator, who alongside the County Council and Gloucestershire Constabulary look to bring a multi-agency approach to tackle domestic abuse within the County of Gloucestershire. Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and in order to tackle it across the county we need everyone to play apart in identifying, responding and supporting those that are suffering domestic abuse. There are support services in the county to support victims.

Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS)
This is a county-wide service designed to reduce the level of domestic abuse and improve the safety of victims and their families. They operate in all districts offering a variety of support programmers for women and men over 16 years old experiencing domestic abuse. They provide one to one support, advice and safety planning  to keep people safe in their own home where possible, group-work programmes and places of safety. GDASS can also offer support to victims of domestic abuse through the court process.  GDASS can also support professionals that have concerns about a person at risk of domestic abuse.

Stroud Beresford Group
Beresford Group (Stroud Women’s Refuge) are a local independent charity that provides Gloucestershire’s women refuge. They also provide a range of community-based services including outreach support, family/children’s support, 12 week courses and a range of workshops and training courses.

Young people’s service

This is a new service launched in October 2019. There is Support for people that need support in addressing unhealthy behaviours in relationships

Positive Relationships Gloucestershire (PRG)

PRG is a service for men and women aged 18 and over, living in Gloucestershire, who want to make positive changes to improve relationships with their partner, ex-partner or future partners. We know that change can be daunting but if you want to change we can help. Involvement in the service is entirely voluntary but you must want to change and be willing to engage with the programmes.