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Home / People & Living / Crime & Disorder / Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is recognised as a widespread problem in Bournemouth and causes huge amounts of suffering. There are many overlapping issues to domestic abuse, including links to mental health, physical and learning disabilities, anti-social behaviour, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse and safeguarding. Our aim is to achieve zero tolerance of domestic abuse, increase reporting and reduce the impact of these issues.

Our strategy| sets out our priorities and action plan for the next three years. Our Priorities include:

  • Victims
  • Children & Young People
  • Vulnerable Adults
  • Prevention
  • Protection & Criminal Justice
  • Perpetrators

“The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

any incident or pattern of incidents 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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Controlling behaviour

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

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.”


The work that aims to tackle Domestic Abuse is delivered through the Bournemouth and Poole Domestic Violence Strategy group. A multi-agency partnership group that meets 4 times a year. The group has senior officers from the councils, health services, police as well as other agencies.


Although Domestic Violence incidents have been reducing in Bournemouth, the number of teenage domestic abuse incidents is a growing area nationally.

The Home Office have a new series of hard hitting TV adverts| as part of the This is Abuse campaign to raise awareness and challenge abusive behaviour in teen relationships.


Local Contacts:

Bournemouth Women’s Refuge 01202 547755

Poole Women’s Refuge 01202 748488

Bournemouth Domestic Violence Outreach Project 01202 209456

Poole Domestic Violence Outreach Project 01202 710777

Butterfly Foundation| 01202 463016

Citizen Advice Bureau| 01202 290967

Rape Crisis| 01202 547755

Relate| (Bournemouth & Poole) 01202 311231

Victim Support| 0845 38 99 528


National Contacts:

Forced Marriages Unit| 0207 008151

Women’s Aid/Refuge| 24hr Helpline 0808 2000247

Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Victims

Broken Rainbow| 0300 999 5428 or 08452 60 44 60

Mon 14.00-20.00; Wed 10.00-13.00; Thurs 14.00-20.00

Support for Male Victims

Respect| 0808 801 0327

Help for the Perpetrator

Respect| 0845 1228609

Support for Young People

This is Abuse|


MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

MARACs deal with the domestic violence victims identified as being at highest risk of serious harm.

The risk assessment process, MARAC procedures (including referral) and standards for operating MARAC meetings have been developed by Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) which is a national organisation supported by the Home Office.

Issues relating to children such as conflict over child contact, pregnancy and perception of harm to children are key indicators of risk in the CAADA risk assessment process. Thus a substantial number of victims who become MARAC cases have children (although many do not).

There are MARACs for Bournemouth, Dorset County and Poole. These meet every three weeks and are currently chaired by the Police. Agencies including children's and adults services, health, mental health, probation, local authority housing departments, drug and alcohol services, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) and specialist domestic violence service providers such as refuges and outreach projects all attend.

The MARAC is victim focussed and information is shared on victims identified as being at highest risk of harm.


The aim of the MARAC is to:

  1. Share information to increase the safety, health and well-being of victims and their children
  2. Determine whether the perpetrator poses a significant risk to any particular individual or the general community
  3. Construct and implement a risk management plan that provides professional support to all those at risk and that reduces the risk of harm
  4. Reduce repeat victimisation
  5. Improve agency accountability
  6. Improve support for staff involved in high risk domestic violence cases

The responsibility to take appropriate action rests with the individual agencies - the MARAC is the process through which information is shared. Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) will represent the victim at the MARAC if the victim chooses to engage with the service. IDVA services are currently provided by Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA). The MARAC flowchart shows the stages in the MARAC process. 


Risk assessment and how to refer to the MARAC

Any agency can refer a victim's case to the MARAC by following the procedure below:

  • Complete the CAADA risk assessment form; 14 ticks or more meets the MARAC threshold and the case should be referred. Cases which do not make the 14 tick threshold but where, in the professional judgment of the person undertaking the assessment, the risk is still high should also be referred. Victims in intimate partner relationship aged 16+ can be referred. Currently, referrals cannot be made for adult victims where the perpetrator is aged under 18.
  • Before making the referrral discuss the case with your line manager or supervisor and consider what actions you and your agency need to undertake to support the victim and increase their safety.
  • Complete the MARAC referral form as fully as possible. If there are no children please state this clearly on the form.
  • Send the MARAC referral form only (not the risk indicator checklist) by secure E mail to the MARAC administrator at (If you do not have secure E mail, please send an E mail to the MARAC administrator to arrange an alternative means of making your referral). To use secure E mail you will need to send the E mail from your own secure E mail address.
  • You will receive an acknowledgement of your referral and be advised of the date when the case will be heard at the MARAC. Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset MARAC Dates 2012. You are welcome to attend the MARAC meeting to present your case and this can be arranged with the MARAC administrator.
  • Make sure you keep any records of the MARAC referral secure by following local information sharing processes in place in your agency.

If, on completion of the risk indicator checklist, the case does not meet the MARAC threshold consider other support you may need to give the victim and signpost to other specialist services available locally and nationally.


General information about the MARAC and risk assessment

CAADA is a national charity which aims to create a consistent, professional and effective response to high risk survivors of domestic violence. CAADA achieves this through the creation of a strong infrastructure for the domestic violence advocacy sector and other domestic violence professionals generally.

CAADA has produced a very good toolkit| which contains more detailed information on the MARAC.

For more information please visit the CAADA website|.


Clare's law to become a national scheme|

A scheme allowing police to disclose to individuals details of their partners’ abusive pasts will be extended to police forces across England and Wales from March 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.

It follows a 14-month pilot four police force areas, which provided more than 100 people with potentially life-saving information.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

This is one of a raft of measures this government has introduced to keep women and girls safe. The systems in place are working better but there are still too many cases where vulnerable people are let down.

Every request under Clare’s Law is thoroughly checked by a panel made up of police, probation services and other agencies to ensure information is only passed on where it is lawful, proportionate and necessary. Trained police officers and advisers are then on hand to support victims through the difficult and sometimes dangerous transitional period.


Domestic violence disclosure scheme pilot assessment|


This report provides an overview of the domestic violence disclosure scheme process, the aims and approaches of the pilot, important findings and recommendations.


Domestic violence protection orders and domestic violence disclosure scheme| (25/11/13)

The government has announced the national extension of Domestic Violence Protection Orders from March 2014, which will provide further protection to vulnerable victims.


Practice resources for professionals working to protect young people from abusive relationships|

(November 2013)

Domestic abuse is usually thought of as something that happens to adults, but younger teenagers and pre-teens may also experience abuse at the hands of boyfriends and girlfriends.

The NSPCC and the ATL carried out a survey to examine the confidence, knowledge and needs of education professionals in addressing abuse in young people's relationships.

As a result of the findings, a number of resources have been produced to support young people and education professionals in responding to relationship abuse.

Related Information


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