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Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and are in immediate danger please call 999 immediately. If you are afraid of being overheard when you dial 999 there is a system in place – 'silent solution'. If you can respond to questions by coughing or tapping the handset you can do this, alternatively, when prompted press 55 to activate the 'silent solution' and the operator can transfer the call to your local police force as an emergency.

View a map of help and support available in Kent on the Domestic Abuse Service website.

What is domestic violence and abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse is any incident of controlling, coercive, 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. Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • 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 pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim. Coercive and controlling behaviour is now a criminal offence, which can be reported to Kent Police through 101

A Domestic Abuse Act was given Royal Ascent on 29 April 2021 and introduced new duties for local authorities. You can find out more on the UK Government website - Domestic Abuse Act 2021: overarching factsheet - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Honour based violence

The definition includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called 'honour based violence', female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

Stalking is a pattern of persistent and unwanted behaviour which is obsessive and intrusive. It can make you feel pestered and harassed and can cause distress and fear that violence may occur. It can include (but is not limited to) making unwanted communication, following or spying on you, damaging property, sending unwanted gifts, threats, online and spyware stalking. Stalking is a criminal offence and you can report this crime to the police.

Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. Typically the abuse involves a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, which tends to get worse over time. The abuse can begin at any time, in the first year, or after many years of life together. It may begin, continue, or escalate after a couple have separated and may take place not only in the home but also in a public place.

Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography. The figures show, however, that it consists mainly of violence by men against women. However Men can also be affected by DA, Children are also affected, both directly and indirectly.

Domestic violence and abuse is a crime and will not be tolerated. If you are experiencing abuse it is important to tell someone before it gets worse. You can access support and advice at a domestic abuse one stop shop, these are accessible across the county.

Help and support

Ashford One Stop Shop

The One Stop Shop is open on Tuesdays 9.30am-12noon at The Willow Centre, 24 Brookfield Road, Ashford, TN23 4EY, please call Natalie on 07765 897211. If it safe to do so you can also leave a message or text. You will be triaged and referred on to the service who can best support you, so we will need a safe number for agencies to call you back on. Calls are confidential, however we may need to take some details to refer you on should you consent.

Domestic Abuse Kent & Medway Support Services

Domestic Abuse Services provides a list of services available across the county and nationally. It also provides information for professionals who are working with those experiencing domestic abuse


DAVE, The Domestic Abuse Victim Empowerment Service

DAVE the new confidential Domestic Abuse Victim Empowerment Service is coordinated by the charity Dads Unlimited.

Male victims of domestic abuse should phone the DAVE helpline on 01233 680160 or register for confidential support by visiting  www.savedave.org.uk

Kent Police

If you are concerned about your partners behaviour or feel there may be a history of domestic abuse you can request a disclosure through Kent Police.

Visit Kent Police website for further information.

National Domestic Violence Helpline

There is a 24 hour national helpline available on 0808 2000 247 or visit the National Domestic Violence Helpline website

The helpline is run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge. Further support and advice can be found by visiting the Women's Aid and Refuge websites.

Rising Sun

The Rising Sun is Ashford’s domestic abuse charity. They can provide you with information and support available in the Ashford and Canterbury area.

Visit Rising Sun for more information.

Forced marriage and honour based abuse

Karma Nirvana is a UK registered charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour based abuse.

Visit Karma Nirvana for more information.


For advice and support if you are affected by stalking, visit the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.


If you are at risk of homelessness through domestic abuse please see information on council housing options.

Legal advice

For legal advice and information visit rights of women or visit the national centre for domestic violence.

Visit KCC for information on domestic homicide reviews.


Adult domestic abuse support groups

Children and young people personal safety groups