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Working with victims of domestic abuse

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Guidance and support available to practitioners working with those affected by domestic abuse and violence.

Actions to take

Victims of domestic abuse need to know that they will be taken seriously and that their rights will be enforced. They need to have accessible options and be supported to make safe changes for themselves and their children.

Whilst the risk of staying may be very high, simply leaving the relationship does not guarantee that the violence will stop. In fact, the period during which a victim is planning or making their exit, is often the most dangerous time for them and their children. It is vitally important that victims are also supported while living with their abusers. If a victim feels that they will not be given ongoing support while they stay with an abusive partner, they are unlikely to seek help from the same person or organisation again.

Make sure you know what to do if a client tells you they are experiencing domestic abuse, and where to signpost them for support.

Offer a referral

If a client discloses domestic abuse (any emotional, physical, psychological or financial abuse perpetrated by a current/ex-partner or family member), you should record the disclosure on your appropriate case management system, and ask them if they want to be referred to a specialist service. The local specialist service is Hestia.


If you believe that the client is in immediate danger or seriously injured, you should call 999.


If a client is in urgent need of accommodation because it is unsafe for them to return or remain at home, consider signposting them to the housing options team, or contacting the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Children and vulnerable adults

If the client has children, or is a vulnerable adult, you will need to make the appropriate safeguarding referrals. For children, go to Richmond Single Point of Access. For adults, go to Adult Social Care.

Risk assessment

If you have the appropriate training and support skills, you can complete a risk assessment with the client. When completing a risk assessment or dealing with a disclosure of abuse, you should always consider whether the client is in need of a MARAC referral, where you believe that they are at risk of serious harm or homicide.

You do not need a client's consent to refer to Richmond MARAC, but it is best practice to inform them of the referral if it is safe to do so, and to discuss their support options.

Sources of help

There are many organisations that support people experiencing domestic abuse.

Find out more

Updated: 30 March 2022

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