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Domestic abuse

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic abuse, it is important to seek help from a trusted person or professional organisation.
Important: If you feel that your domestic situation is an emergency and that your life is in danger, call the Police immediately.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse encompasses various forms of harmful behaviour, violence, or abuse that occur between individuals who are or have been intimate partners or family members, irrespective of their gender or sexuality. This definition includes, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • Emotional or psychological abuse:Any form of abuse that involves ongoing emotional mistreatment, such as deliberately instilling fear, humiliation, isolation, or neglecting an individual’s emotional needs.
  • Physical abuse: Any act of physical harm or violence directed towards an individual, causing bodily injury or pain.
  • Sexual abuse: Any non-consensual or coercive sexual activity or behaviour inflicted upon an individual.
  • Financial abuse: This includes controlling a person’s finances and bank accounts, accumulating debts in their name, exerting control over how money is spent, preventing them from pursuing education or employment, and depriving them of basic necessities.
  • Controlling behaviour: This refers to a range of actions that make an individual reliant or dependent on another person by isolating them from support networks, exploiting their resources for personal gain, removing their means of independence, resistance, or escape, and regulating their daily behaviour.
  • Coercive behaviour: This involves a series of acts such as assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation, or any other form of abuse intended to harm, punish, or instil fear in the victim.
  • Cuckooing: This occurs when criminals target the homes of vulnerable individuals to utilise the property for illegal activities, such as drug dealing, weapon concealment, or other criminal endeavours. They rapidly move between the homes of vulnerable people for short or extended periods.

What kind of person can become an abuser?

Abuse and neglect can be perpetrated by individuals from various categories, including:

  • Spouses and partners: Individuals who are married or in an intimate relationship with the victim.
  • Other family members: Relatives of the victim, such as parents, siblings, children, or extended family members.
  • Neighbours: People who reside in close proximity to the victim, whether in the same building or neighbourhood.
  • Friends: Individuals who have a personal relationship with the victim based on companionship or shared interests.
  • Acquaintances: People who are known to the victim but may not have a close relationship, such as colleagues, classmates, or casual acquaintances.
  • Local residents: People within the local community who may come into contact with the victim.
  • Paid Staff and Professionals: Individuals who are employed to provide services, such as caregivers, healthcare professionals, or support workers.
  • Volunteers: People who offer their time and assistance voluntarily, such as volunteers at community organisations or charitable institutions.
  • Strangers: Individuals who have no prior relationship with the victim and are unknown to them.

Where might someone experience abuse?

Abuse can occur in various settings, including:

  • A tenant’s own home: The residence where the victim lives.
  • Someone else’s home: The home of another person, such as a friend, family member, or neighbour.
  • Public spaces: Areas outside of the home, such as streets, parks, or public transportation.
  • Environments expected to be safe: Settings where safety and protection are anticipated, such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, or care facilities.

It is important to understand that abuse and neglect can happen in any location, regardless of the expected level of safety or familiarity with the abuser.

Who can be affected by domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse has the potential to affect individuals of any gender or sexual orientation. While research acknowledges that there is a higher incidence of domestic abuse against women, it is important to note that men can also be victims of domestic abuse.

Furthermore, violence can extend beyond intimate partners and involve other family members, such as a son or daughter being violent towards a parent. It is essential to recognise that domestic abuse can impact multiple members within a household, rather than being limited to a single individual.

Who is responsible for domestic abuse cases at SHA?

At SHA, the responsibility for addressing reports of domestic abuse lies with all staff members, who are required to follow the Domestic Abuse Policy and Procedure. Additionally, when a joint tenancy exists, SHA is obliged to offer unbiased and factual advice to both parties involved.

Staff have the responsibility of promptly responding to and acknowledging initial reports of domestic abuse. They are also tasked with providing support to the victim and promptly notifying the Head of Housing about the incidents.

Senior Management are responsible for investigating more severe or intricate cases of domestic abuse. They are tasked with initiating and managing any necessary legal actions, monitoring and reporting individual cases, as well as closing cases as appropriate.

Every instance of domestic abuse reported within SHA will be treated as a priority. The incidents will be recorded and closely monitored throughout the investigation process. Regular communication will be maintained with the person reporting the abuse, ensuring they are informed of the progress and developments of their case.

How can I report domestic abuse?

If you need to report a case of domestic abuse to SHA, there are several methods available:

  • In-person: You can visit one of our offices either in Canary Wharf or the Hason Raja Centre  to report the domestic abuse situation in person.
  • In writing: You have the option to submit a written report detailing the domestic abuse incident. This can be done through a letter, online form or by completing a specific form provided by SHA.
  • Via telephone: You can contact us by phone to report the domestic abuse. Our helpline or designated phone numbers will be available for you to make the report.
  • Via email: You can send an email to for reporting cases of domestic abuse. Ensure that you provide all relevant details in your email.
  • Via a third party: If you prefer, you can report the domestic abuse incident through a third party, such as a police officer, local authority representative, or another partner organisation. They can communicate the information to SHA on your behalf.

For the full contact details and specific methods of reporting, please refer to our Contact us page where you will find the appropriate contact information.

What happens after I report domestic abuse?

Individual cases will vary and SHA staff will have to make decisions based on the information and evidence they have. Once domestic abuse is reported to SHA, the following actions may be taken:

  • Sole tenancy and victim: If the reported domestic abuse involves a sole tenancy, and the tenant is the victim, SHA may assess the situation and determine if additional security measures to the tenant’s home would be beneficial. These measures aim to enhance the safety and security of the victim.
  • Joint tenancy and abuser: In cases where the reported domestic abuse involves a joint tenancy and the abuser is a tenant, the tenancy can only be terminated through legal means, typically through a court process. SHA will provide advice and guidance to the victim about the available options and may assist in making contact with the police, local organisations, and support services that specialise in dealing with domestic abuse.
  • Collaboration with organisations: SHA will collaborate with relevant organisations to address and mitigate the abuse. This collaborative approach ensures that appropriate support and interventions are provided to the victim, while also respecting the views, feelings, and wishes of the residents to the extent possible.
  • Sharing Information: It’s important to be aware that if concerns are raised regarding domestic abuse, SHA may need to share the relevant details with the local authority or other relevant agencies. This sharing of information is necessary to facilitate further investigation and intervention by the appropriate authorities.

By taking these steps, SHA aims to support victims of domestic abuse, promote their safety, and work towards stopping the abuse in collaboration with relevant organisations and agencies.

What to do if you are concerned about your safety or someone else

If you have concerns about yourself or someone else regarding domestic abuse or any immediate risk, please take the following steps:
  • Immediate risk: If there is an immediate risk to a child, young person, adult, or yourself, it is important to contact the police right away. They are equipped to handle emergency situations and provide the necessary assistance.
  • Local authority safeguarding lead: Each local authority has a designated safeguarding lead. You can raise concerns about abuse directly with them. To reach the safeguarding lead, contact the council’s main phone number and ask to speak to the safeguarding lead. Alternatively, you can search for ‘safeguarding’ on their official website for contact information and guidance. Here’s a link the Tower Hamlets domestic violence help.
  • Report to SHA staff: You can report your concerns to a member of SHA staff. They are trained to handle such situations and can provide guidance and support. If the abuse is being perpetrated by an SHA employee, you can contact SHA at 020 7392 5400 and request to speak to a member of the Senior Management Team. They will address the situation appropriately.
It is crucial to take action when there are concerns about domestic abuse or immediate risk to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

National organisations that provide support for domestic abuse victims

Help for women and men:

Rape Crisis: 0808 802 9999
National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300
Victim Support Line: 0845 30 30 900

Help for older people:

Action on Elder Abuse: 0808 808 8141
Age UK: 0800 169 2081

People with learning disabilities or autism:

Respond: 0808 808 0700

Help for women only:

National Domestic Violence helpline: 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)
Refuge: 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)
Women’s Aid: 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)

Help for men only:

ManKind: 0808 801 0327
Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
MPower: 01603 622406
Survivors UK Ltd: 0845 122 1201

Help and advice to children and teenagers:

ChildLine: 0800 1111
The Hideout
NSPCC: 0808 800 5000