Advice about domestic abuse

Date published: 04 October 2023 13:07

If an incident of domestic abuse is happening now or someone has been injured or is in danger, call 999. In a non-emergency, call South Yorkshire Police on 101. 

What is domestic abuse?

The UK government’s definition of domestic violence 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, physical, sexual, financial, emotional.’

Domestic abuse can take different forms, including:

Further advice and information

What is controlling or coercive behaviour?

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: a continuing 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.

Types of behaviour

The types of behaviour associated with coercion or control may or may not constitute a criminal offence in their own right. It is important to remember that the presence of controlling or coercive behaviour does not mean that no other offence has been committed or cannot be charged. However, the perpetrator may limit space for action and exhibit a story of ownership and entitlement over the victim. Such behaviours might include:

  • isolating a person from their friends and family
  • depriving them of their basic needs
  • monitoring their time
  • monitoring a person via online communication tools or using spyware
  • taking control over aspects of their everyday life, such as where they can go, who they can see, what to wear and when they can sleep
  • depriving them of access to support services, such as specialist support or medical services
  • repeatedly putting them down such as telling them they are worthless
  • enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim
  • forcing the victim to take part in criminal activity such as shoplifting, neglect or abuse of children to encourage self-blame and prevent disclosure to authorities
  • financial abuse including control of finances, such as only allowing a person a punitive allowance
  • threats to hurt or kill
  • threats to a child
  • threats to reveal or publish private information (e.g. threatening to ‘out’ someone)
  • assault
  • threats to harm your pet or kept animal
  • criminal damage (such as destruction of household goods)
  • rape
  • preventing a person from having access to transport or from working.

Controlling or coercive behaviour does not only happen in the home, the victim can be monitored by phone or social media from a distance and can be made to fear violence on at least two occasions or adapt their everyday behaviour as a result of serious alarm or distress.

How can I get help?

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can report it to us by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency, or tell a family member, friend or neighbour. Many abusers rely on silence so they can continue the abuse.

If you are worried about a loved one or someone you know, report it to us. We will listen.

We take all reports of domestic abuse very seriously. We are committed to protecting the lives of both adult and child victims of domestic abuse, to investigate all reports effectively, to bring offenders to justice and hold them accountable for their actions.

The Silent Solution

If you call 999 in an emergency but you are unable to speak to the operator because of your circumstances, you can use something called the Silent Solution. This means that the operator will ask you a series of questions - they may ask you to cough, or make a noise, or press a button on your phone, so they know you are listening to them. They will then ask you to press '55' on your keypad. This is the Silent Solution, and lets the operator know that you are in an emergency situation and require urgent help. The operator will then listen to what they can hear and make an assessment about what type of response is required. Do not call 999 and press '55' immediately - this may not be registered as a legitimate emergency call, listen to the operator's instructions and only press '55' when instructed.

Bright Sky app

Domestic abuse charity Hestia and the Vodafone Foundation have created a free mobile app called Bright Sky to provide information and support to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship, or those concerned about someone they know. It's available in four languages and has a UK-wide directory of domestic abuse support agencies with contact details.

Further information on the app or search 'Bright Sky' on your device app store.

What other support is available?

Our Protecting Vulnerable People team often provide support to domestic abuse victims, but support is also available from partner agencies. There are organisations in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham who can offer you support, for both men and woman and LGBT+ communities.


Independent Domestice Abuse Service (IDAS) 
Website: www.idas.org
Helpline: 0808 808 2241

Domestic Abuse Coordination Team (DACT)

Website: www.sheffielddact.org.uk/domestic-abuse

(Click here to view their leaflet outlining support services)

Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service
Helpline: 0114 249 3920

Sheffield Domestic Abuse Outreach Service (including support for men)
Helpline: 0114 270 6999

Victim Support (including domestic abuse service for men) 
Helpline: 0114 275 8411

Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre
Helpline: 0808 802 0013

Sheffield Women's Counselling and Therapy Service
Helpline: 0114 275 2157

NSPCC Young People's Centre
Helpline: 0114 228 9200

Social Care Service (24 hours)
Helpline: 0114 273 4855

Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS)
Website: www.idas.org
Helpline: 03000 110 110 North Yorkshire and Barnsley

Victim Support
Helpline: 01226 243761

Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Helpline BSARCH
Helpline: 01226 298560

Rotherham Rise
Website: www.rotherhamrise.org.uk
Helpline: 0330 2020571

Victim Support
Helpline: 01709 361076

Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service
Helpline: 01709 823196

Rotherham Women's Counselling Service
Helpline: 01709 835482

Youth Start (13-19 year olds)
Helpline: 01709 255266

Doncaster Domestic Abuse Hub
Website: www.doncaster.gov.uk/domesticabuse
Helpline: 01302 737080

Doncaster Council Advice and Homelessness
Helpline: 01302 862043

Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling
Helpline: 01302 360421

Doncaster Victim Support
Helpline: 01302 365531

Doncaster Independent Domestic Violence Advocates
Helpline: 01302 737080

Say It
Website: www.sayit.org.uk/callitout

Website: www.galop.org.uk
Helpline: 0800 999 5428

Website: www.ashianasheffield.org 
Helpline: 0114 255 5740 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)

Karma Nirvana

Website: www.karmanirvana.org.uk/

Helpline: 0800 5999 247 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm)


National Domestic Abuse helpline
Helpline: 0808 2000247

National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline
Helpline: 0800 999 5428

There are a number of free services that can provide further advice and help, some are listed below:

Domestic Abuse Action Plan

You can read the force's action plan which sets out how we will deliver on the recommendations set out in the 2017 HMICFRS report on the police response to domestic abuse.