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Domestic Abuse Support

Domestic abuse affects the whole family. Don't suffer in silence, talk to someone that can help.

  • Accessing support
  • Support for perpertrators

In an emergency, always dial 999 - if you are unable to speak always press '55' when prompted to confirm an emergency.

No-one should live in fear of abuse or violence from a spouse, partner or someone they are personally connected to (member of their household – they don’t need to be in the same household).

The definition of domestic abuse is 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 includes, but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Verbal
  • Harmful practices - find out more below

Domestic abuse - national, local and specialist support

No matter your gender, sexuality, age or situation, there is support available for everyone.

National and specialist domestic abuse support

Domestic abuse: How to get help easy read guidance (pdf)

If you are not in the areas below, you can find out more about local support from your local council, find your local council here


St Helens


Harmful Practices

Harmful Practices occur across all sexes, sexual identities and genders and are not  unique to a particular culture or religion.  These are forms of domestic abuse, but unlike ‘typical’ domestic abuse, family members and the extended family are often involved. Harmful traditional practices include:

  • female genital cutting/mutilation (FGM)
  • so called ‘honour’ based violence and ‘honour’ killings
  • forced marriage
  • breast ironing also known as breast flattening

  • Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and or dependant 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 assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation of other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.
  • Forced Marriage is a hidden practice where due to its nature the full scale of the issue is unknown and is most cases involve young women and girls aged between 16 and 25.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is a criminal offence under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
  • Honour based Violence (HBV) is an act of violence explained by the abuser as being committed in order to protect or defend the honour of the family/community.


Domestic violence and abuse can be actual or threatened and can happen once every so often or on a regular basis.

It can happen to anyone, in all kinds of relationships.

People suffer domestic abuse regardless of their social group, gender, class, age, race, disability, sexuality or lifestyle.

The abuse can begin at any time – in new relationships or after many years together.

Children are affected by domestic abuse both in the short and long term.

In an emergency, always dial 999 - if you are unable to speak always press '55' when prompted to confirm an emergency.

Find out more about ‘Make yourself heard’ - what to do if you need urgent police help through the 999 service, but can’t speak, here (PDF).

If you are worried that you, or someone you know, is in an abuse relationship, you must report it.

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Help for abusers

Abuse is a learned behaviour, which means it can be unlearned.

If you have recognised your own abusive behaviour and want to change, free, confidential and non-judgemental support is available.

Support for perpetrators of abuse

Signs of Domestic Abuse

There are different kinds of abuse, but it's always about someone having power and control over you.  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship.

Does your partner ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or downplay it?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?
  • monitor your social media profiles, share photos or videos of you without your consent or use GPS locators to know where you are?

Does your partner ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways. Does your partner ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone. Does your partner ever:

  • touch you in a way you do not want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?

Have you ever felt afraid of your partner?

Have you ever changed your behaviour because you're afraid of what your partner might do?

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, there are lots of people who can help you.

Sanctuary Schemes – securing your home

Sanctuary schemes support victims of domestic abuse to feel safe in their own homes with the installation of additional security equipment to the property.

  • A Sanctuary is ‘a property where security measures have been installed in order that households at risk of domestic violence are able to remain safely in their own accommodation if they choose to do so’.
  • A Sanctuary Scheme is ‘a multi-agency victim/survivor centred initiative which aims to enable households at risk of domestic abuse to remain in their own homes and reduce repeat victimisation through the provision of enhanced security measures (Sanctuary) and support.

It may also include a Sanctuary Safe Room, which is defined as ‘replacing a door to a main room, often the bedroom, with a solid core door. The Sanctuary Safe Room door is reversed to open outwards; the frame is reinforced, additional locks and bolts, substantial hinges and a door viewer are fitted. This provides a safe room where household members can call and wait safely for the police.

From October 2021, claimants living in a social sector property that has been adapted under a sanctuary scheme were excluded from the Bedroom Tax. This applies to both Housing Benefit and Universal Credit, find out more here.

Accessing support for a Sanctuary

In Warrington:

In St Helens:

St Helens Council do not currently operate a Sanctuary Scheme but target hardening funding can be applied for, contact Safe2Speak for more information on 01744 743200.

In Liverpool:

If you are a Liverpool resident and require target hardening, please contact Liverpool City Council Housing Options on 0151 233 3061 or email

Target Hardening - Making your home safer

If you are a Torus tenant and feel you would benefit from some security measures to feel safe at home due to domestic abuse, please contact us on 0800 678 1894 or email

Noise Nuisance or Domestic Abuse?

Torus takes reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and noise nuisance seriously. However on some occasions, what may seem like a noise issue could be domestic abuse. Domestic abuse should not be confused with ASB it is a form of abuse which can result in serious harm, injury or even death. It affects adults as well as children. 

If you believe you witness or hear what you believe is domestic abuse, we ask you to be a good neighbour and help to keep others safe by reporting it straight away to the Police, DO NOT wait to report it to Torus as noise nuisance. This could lead to delays in victims receiving the right support quickly. 

Remember, be a good neighbour, report the crime and you may prevent someone being seriously harmed or worse.

Find out more and where to report

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