Safeguarding and domestic abuse

Safeguarding means looking out for and trying to protect others in our community who are vulnerable or may be at risk of harm. If you think that someone is at risk, you must raise an alarm. Everyone can make a difference.

Abuse can be:

  • Physical – being slapped, pushed or punched
  • Sexual – being touched inappropriately or forced to have sex
  • Emotional – being shouted at, humiliated or threatened with harm
  • Financial – having money and valuables taken without permission, being prevented from accessing own money or being pressured to give or leave money or things in a will
  • Neglect – not being given support that’s needed to stay well; for example, not getting medicine, adequate food and/or drink
  • Discrimination – being treated badly because of age, disability, race or religion
  • Self-neglect – an adult who doesn’t look after themselves, their home or health
  • Domestic abuse – which could incorporate all of the above forms of abuse and could include coercive control

Abuse can happen anywhere:

  • at home or at work
  • in a care home, day centre, hospital
  • in any public place

Anyone can be an abuser:

  • a partner, relative, carer
  • neighbours and friends
  • staff

Signs of abuse:

  • changes in behaviour
  • changes in appearance
  • changes in lifestyle, routine or circumstances 
  • injuries which occur regularly
  • unusual difficulty with finances  
  • over-emphasising that everything is OK  
  • seeking attention
  • appearing to be frightened
  • changing in eating habits 

If you spot any of these signs talk to the person when they are on their own to see if you can help – they may be experiencing other problems (like illness or depression).

Report Abuse – make it stop

In an emergency – If someone is in danger: call the Police: 999

Adult abuse and neglect

If you are being abused, or are concerned about a vulnerable adult:

  • Safeguarding Adults – 0118 937 3747 / 01344 786 543 out of hours)

Child Protection

If you are concerned about a child or young person:

Domestic abuse

There has been an increase in the number of people needing support in relation to domestic abuse during the pandemic. Whatever your situation, you can get help and have the right to live free from domestic abuse. If you feel you are in immediate danger call 999.

If your situation is not urgent, call the police on 101 or contact the Housing Advice Service on 0118 937 2165 to plan your next steps.

More information is available on our page on domestic abuse.

What is domestic abuse?

The Home Office’s ‘official’ 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 can include, but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviours

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 behaviours

Are acts or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Violence against women and girls

The Home Office has launched a campaign to tackle violence against women and girls. The campaign, called ‘Enough’, aims to challenge perpetrators and raise awareness of what we can all do to call out abuse. Find out more about the Enough campaign.

Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) provide refuge and community-based support services for all of those at risk of domestic abuse.

Trust House provides a range of support services for people affected by rape and sexual abuse. They also have a confidential helpline you can contact on 0118 958 4033.

Last updated on 04/06/2024