Domestic Abuse

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is defined in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 as abusive behaviour by one person towards another person who is personally connected to them (this can be an intimate relationship or family member).

The Homelessness Code of Guidance states that domestic abuse is ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse’.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse and sexual violence. It can occur in both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ relationships, and can affect anyone regardless of age, religion, race, sexual identity, or social background.

It can be a singular incident or a pattern of behaviour which is motivated by the abuser seeking to establish and maintain power and control over another person.


Behaviour is abusive if it consists of:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Psychological, emotional, or other abuse
  • Economic abuse


Does someone you are in a relationship with or someone you know ever:

  • Make you feel bad about yourself by calling you names or saying hurtful things?
  • Threaten you or your children and make you feel worried they could hurt you or cause you harm?
  • Physically hurt you, for example:  kicking, punching, slapping, pulling your hair, or strangling you?
  • Not allowing you to move freely to see your family and friends?
  • Turn up at places they shouldn’t be? For example, your work, social activities, or your home without being invited?
  • Made you ask for money, keep money from you or restrict your access to money?

If the answer to some of these questions is yes, you might be experiencing domestic abuse.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999. If speaking or making a sound would put you in more danger, stay on the line, press 55 when prompted – the call will then be transferred to the police who will know it is an emergency. 


Help and support:

Lighthouse women’s aid:

Lighthouse is a Suffolk based charity that supports women, young people and children who are affected by Domestic abuse. Lighthouse can also search for refuge spaces across the country if you need to leave home immediately.

Contact Lighthouse on 01473 228270 for confidential advice and support.

Anglia Care Trust- Domestic Abuse Outreach Service (DAOS):
DAOS provide a range of different types of support from crisis work, support work through to advice and drop-in sessions. They also specialise in male victim support.

There is also a 24-hour confidential helpline to call when it is safe to do so: 08009775690.

Norfolk and Suffolk victim care:
Norfolk and Suffolk Victim care can give emotional and practical support to people who have been affected by crime. This is a service that can be contacted regardless of whether you have contacted the police and no matter how long ago the crime took place. 

Contact Norfolk and Suffolk Victim care on: 03003033706 (Monday-Friday 8am-5pm). 

Leeway Domestic violence and abuse services:

Leeway are a specialist domestic abuse service within Suffolk and Norfolk and can offer free, confidential, and non-judgemental advice. Contact Leeway on 03005610077.

National 24 hour domestic violence helpline: 

If you're a woman experiencing domestic abuse. You can talk confidentially to someone about your situation and to find out what your options are. 0808 2000 247.

Men's Advice Line:

If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the on 0808 801 0327.

National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline:

If you are in a same-sex relationship you can call the helpline on 0800 999 5428.


If you feel in despair and want someone to listen to you and provide emotional support, call Samaritans on 01284 750000.

Getting homelessness help from the council if you are a victim of domestic abuse:

You can apply to the housing options team within any council in the country if you can no longer stay in your home because of domestic abuse. The council must give you advice on your options to find somewhere safe to live. Some people are entitled to emergency interim accommodation if it is unsafe for them to stay in their own home.

If the council has a duty to find you somewhere to live you may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents.

If you are unsatisfied with the support, you have received please contact Shelter for further assistance.


If you need to leave your home immediately as it is unsafe for your stay due to domestic abuse, there are women’s refuges across the country where you can be safe and receive ongoing support. Contact the National Domestic abuse helpline and they will be able to complete an up-to-date refuge search and provide more information on how to flee safely. The 24/7 helpline number is: 0808 2000 247.

Men’s refuge:

There are limited specialist housing units for men who are experiencing domestic abuse.

Please contact your local council to complete a homeless application.

You can also contact Shelter, the men’s advice line and citizens advice to see what other help is available.

Support to stay in your own home:

We understand that not everyone wants to leave their home due to domestic abuse.

If it is safe to do so you could remain in your home with additional measures to safeguard you and the people, you live with.

Please speak to your landlord about sanctuary schemes or target hardening schemes. Your landlord may be able add additional security to your property for example they could; change the locks, secure windows and doors and help you to feel safer in your home.

If you are an Ipswich Borough Council tenant, please contact your housing officer directly who will be able to support you.

Protective court orders:

There are also some protective court orders that you can obtain to help you feel safe in your own home.
You may be able to apply for a civil injunction through the courts called a non-molestation order which will outline conditions where the perpetrator is not permitted to contact you. 

If you are still living with the perpetrator, you could apply for an occupation order to exclude them from the property for a short period of time. To removed them from the tenancy permanently, you would need to obtain an adjustment order.

Please contact National Centre of Domestic Violence (NCDV) for advice and support to see if an injunction would be able to support you.

Help from social services:

Some people may be entitled to help from the council's adult and children’s services.

Social services might be able to help if you:

  •  Are elderly
  • Have children living with you
  • Are under the age of 18
  • Have left care (or are about to do so)
  • Are in poor health
  • Have a physical or learning disability.

Please contact customer first on 0808 800 4005 if you are worried or concerned about someone.

If you are concerned about someone under the age of 18 then please report any concerns to the police and social services immediately.


The housing options service confirms to maintain confidentiality unless there is a concern that someone is at risk of immediate harm or danger. 

Contact Details

Ipswich Borough Council,
Housing Policy & Strategy,
3E Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,

Telephone icon

01473 432000