Domestic abuse is a form of violence or abuse which often involves coercive behaviours. It is most often experienced by women by current or former male partners but recent domestic homicides in Surrey have involved male victims. 

Domestic violence and abuse can take place between any members of a family group or intimate partners of all sexual orientation, regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle, sometimes involving children. Domestic violence is frequently repeated and can escalate over time. Children may experience significant adverse impact as a result of such abuse within the family or family home.

The introduction of Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004) means that local agencies are expected to undertake a multi- agency review following a domestic homicide.

Stalking became a criminal offence in November 2012. It is different form harassment as it involves fixated or obsessive behaviour.

What is Domestic Abuse?

The new definition of domestic violence and abuse now states:

"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 dependent 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 a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) & forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

Such behaviour may include:

Destructive verbal abuse such as mocking, insulting, shouting, name calling & threatening, ignoring the victim or putting them down in front of others.

Putting on pressure by sulking (being jealous & suspicious) self -harm, lying to others about the victim & to the victim themselves, using the children, withholding money, preventing use of telephone, car or things within the home.

Isolation - checking on phone calls to & from the victim, deciding where & when the victim can go out and who they see, stopping contact from other friends & relatives.

Harassment - embarrassment in public, following the victim and opening mail or not allowing privacy.

Threats to cause harm to the victim, their personal possessions, the home, the children, using gestures which cause fear, with or without weapons (guns, knives, sticks, etc) parts of body such as feet, fists etc.


Outreach services

East Surrey

01737 771 350 covers Reigate, Banstead, Mole Valley & Tandridge

North West Surrey

01483 776 822 covers Woking, Runnymede & Surrey Heath

North West Surrey

01932 260 690 covers Epsom, Ewell, Elmbridge & Spelthorne

South West Surrey

01483 577 392 covers Guildford & Waverley


Other Sources of Help

Surrey-wide helpLine

01483 776 822

National 24 hour helpline

08082 000 247

Male Advice Line

0845 0646 800


Surrey Against Domestic Abuse (SADA)

SADAlogo.jpgSurrey and Borders is part of SADA, a multi agency partnership made up of organisations that deal, either directly or indirectly, with the effects of domestic abuse. Other organisations in the partnership include Surrey Police, Crimestoppers, Surrey County Council and the various borough councils in the region.

Please visit their website for information about what to do and who contact if you suspect that you or someone you know is being abused.