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020 7392 5400

Domestic abuse

Domestic violence is a crime. It makes up a quarter of all reported violent crime.

Both civil law and criminal law are involved. The police have a duty to respond to domestic violence incidents they are called to. They have discretion to intervene, arrest, caution or charge someone for domestic violence offences. The common law applies in domestic settings in the same way as it does in other settings. A perpetrator can be charged with assault, criminal damage, unlawful imprisonment, rape etc in exactly the same way as if they have committed these offences against a stranger "The use of power to assert and maintain control over another person. It can involve the physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse of adults within all kinds of intimate and family relationships." In addition to actual physical violence, domestic violence may include:

  • Threats of violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Bullying
  • Violence/threats to children
  • Humiliation/constant undermining
  • Deprivation of money and food
  • Confinement in the home/control over when the other person goes out/whom s/he sees
  • Prevention from working/studying

The definition of domestic violence now includes young people under 18.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence you can speak to someone in confidence by telephoning us on 0207 392 5400 or emailing us at

Useful contacts

Domestic Violence Helpline: 0870 599 5443 [24 hour service with Language Line interpreting support] Tower Hamlets Law Centre: 0207 247 8998 or

LBTH Housing Advisory Service [advice for private sector and HA tenants and owner-occupiers on a wide range of housing issues

Albert Jacob House
62 Roman Road
Bethnal Green
E2 0PG
Tel: 020 7364 3558
Fax: 020 7364 3559

Refuge Crisis Line: 0870 599 5443 or
Women’s Aid National Helpline: 0345 023 468
Women’s Aid Federation of England: 0845 702 3468 or