Domestic abuse and sexual violence

Man and woman arguing

Domestic abuse 

Domestic violence or abuse is a crime that has a devastating impact on individuals and the community. It is more common than you may think and accounts for a quarter of all violent crime in West Sussex.

It is estimated that 1 in every 4 women and 1 in every 6 men have been a victim of abuse at some point in their life. Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality or religion.

Domestic violence is defined as 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 can include, but is not limited, to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person inferior 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 a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Some of the things that someone close to you may be doing are:

  • Withholding your money
  • Threatening you
  • Threatening your children
  • Breaking things in the house
  • Playing 'mind games' with you
  • Ridiculing your beliefs
  • Stalking you
  • Isolating you from family and friends
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Harassing you.

You may feel trapped, scared, degraded and unable to do anything about your situation.

Support for people being abused

If you are concerned about your own, or someone else’s, situation visit the West Sussex County Council website for more information and links to a range of support services available.

For urgent advice, please phone or report to Sussex police by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.

Silent 999 service

If you need urgent police help, but are unable to speak, follow these steps to access the silent 999 service:

  1. Dial 999
  2. Listen to the question from the 999 operator
  3. Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can
  4. If prompted, press 55.  This lets the 999 operator know that it is a genuine emergency and you'll be put through to the police.

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