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Domestic Abuse / Domestic Violence

Domestic abuse is widespread, often escalates, and almost invariably impacts on children in the household. From 2007 domestic abuse has been defined in legislation as harmful and abusive to children. It affects their emotional wellbeing, behaviour, attainment, and long term life chances: the younger the child the greater the risk.

In Oxfordshire it is estimated that 22,000 adults a year are affected by domestic abuse. The majority, but not all, victims are women. Most will be parents. Nationally it is estimated 75% of children on the ‘at risk’ register have witnessed domestic abuse and we would provisionally suggest that three quarters of children identified as vulnerable in Oxfordshire are likely to have experience of Domestic Abuse.

Definition (Home Office 2013)

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 encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

Also consider issues such as honour based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation

Further facts and information:

Domestic abuse comprises a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour which the government defines in the following way:

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 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.”

Because abuse is driven by a need to control, any change may escalate the abuse. It is important, when intervening to protect a child, to consider how to best to undertake this safely

Getting help

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 731 0055

Open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 4pm.

A freephone number that will not show on your telephone bill but may appear on an itemised mobile phone bill.

Agencies are encouraged to contact ODAS via oxfordshiredomestic@a2dominion.co.uk rather than through the helpline.

Useful Links and Publications

The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board has published a combined Serious Case Review and Domestic Homicide Review named ‘Child J’. The report and associated documents can be accessed on the case review page. The below document is a progress report on actions taken in Oxfordshire in response to the findings of this review. Child J – OSCB Progress Report

  • The Hideout – Women’s Aid have created this space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action
  • BB4K – (Bounce Back for Kids) is a therapeutic group for children from 5 – 12 years of age who have experienced living within a family where domestic abuse has occurred. This often leads to behavioural issues and or physical, emotional and academic delay in the children
  • Karma Nirvana – Helpline: 0800 5999247 Supporting victims of honour crimes and forced marriages since 1993           
  • Relate: Oxford 01865 242960 and Banbury 01295 258141  – Can offer counselling to individuals who are in or have left a violent relationship
  • Oxford Friend: 01865 726893
    Free and completely confidential information, support and counselling services for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people

 Oxfordshire Children and Families Assessment Team 

  • South: 01865 897983
    North: 01865 816670
    Central: 01865 323048
    Emergency Out of Hours: 0800 833408


Last updated 24/02/16