Domestic and sexual abuse

Domestic and sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their background. Working with partners, we provide support services to victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Further information

Need help? Contact Leicestershire Police or call 101 (999 in an emergency) 

What is domestic abuse?

The 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 abuse
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial abuse
  • emotional abuse.

Controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by: 

  • isolating them from sources of support, such as family or friends
  • exploiting their resources and capacities, to gain from them personally
  • depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • 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.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence can include rape, sexual abuse and being forced to engage in unwanted sex acts or prostitution.

What else can domestic and sexual violence involve?

  • Forced marriage is when someone is forced into marrying someone against their will. Sometimes victims can encounter physical or emotional abuse from family members. Emotional abuse can take the form of being blackmailed
  • 'Honour'-based violence is where family member(s) and maybe community members act to control and punish perceived misbehaviour

Key facts about domestic and sexual violence and abuse 

  • It’s thought that 9 out of 10 people know someone affected by domestic violence
  • Friends and family are often the first to know
  • There were over 11,300 calls to the local domestic violence helpline in 2016-17
  • 253 rapes and 518 other sexual offenses were recorded by police in Leicester in 2016-17
  • About 1 in 3 women living in Leicester may have experienced domestic abuse at some point since the age of 16, and 1 in 5 may have experienced sexual assault
  • Only around 15 per cent of those who experience sexual violence choose to report it to the police. (RCEW website 2016)

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