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Domestic Violence and Abuse


What is Domestic Abuse?


The Government 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 encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional."


Examples of domestic abuse


Domestic violence and abuse can take different forms. Although it can be very frightening, sometimes it is also very subtle. Some examples include:

  • Threats and intimidation - threatening to hurt you or members of your family

  • Physical abuse - hitting, shoving, kicking, strangling or slapping, hair pulling, throwing things, choking or smothering, even when it doesn't leave physical marks

  • Sexual abuse - performing sexual acts or having sex with you when you don't want to. This can include the use of threats, intimidation, coercive behaviour or physical force, although it is still sexual abuse even without using these

  • Insults by name calling or criticism of your appearance or identity

  • Criticism and put-downs

  • Forced isolation from your friends or family

  • Being blamed for every argument or problem, or for the violent behaviour

  • Humiliation at home or in public

  • Controlling behaviour - telling you what to do or wear, or using manipulation or coercion

  • Following you or checking up on your mobile phone, post or internet use

  • Financial abuse - preventing you from getting or keeping a job, taking your money away or withholding the family income


Encompass’ Response to Domestic Abuse


Encompass believes domestic abuse is unacceptable whenever and however it occurs. 

Encompass will always adopt a non-judgemental and believing approach to reports of domestic abuse. 

For further information please see Encompass' Domestic Abuse Policy.


How do I report domestic abuse to Encompass?


Reports of domestic abuse can be made to Encompass staff in a variety of ways:


  • In person by visiting the Civic Offices, Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm

  • By telephone by calling 0208 770 5000

  • By email at

  • Online form on Sutton Home Choice (create an account and follow the links to Homelessness)

  • By third party referrer by asking any professional you are involved with to make a referral on your behalf

When will I hear back from Encompass?


Encompass will respond to reports within the following timescales: 

  • Reports made in person, by telephone or email to the Housing Advice Team will be responded to the same day.

  • Email reports to other teams or staff members will be responded to within two working days.

  • Reports made through Sutton Home Choice will be responded to within two working days.

  • Referrals from other organisations will be responded to the same day.

  • Where a report is made by telephone and it is not safe for the survivor to be called back the contact centre agent will contact a member of the duty team to arrange to put the client straight through to them.


What will happen next?


We will contact you to find out more about your situation and what you would like to happen. We will ask you to tell us:


  • About the abuse - what type of abuse it is, how long it has been going on for and when was the last incident. We will also do a risk assessment.

  • Your immigration status.

  • Your address history for the last 5 years.

  • Where you now live and what type of property it is eg. council, privately rented or owned, and whose name it is in.

  • Who else is part of your household.

  • Whether you have any physical or mental health conditions or other support needs.

  • What your income is.

  • We will also ask you to provide documents such as ID, proof of address, payslips and benefit letters.

Once we have this information we can help you decide what to do next. Some of the possible options might be:


  • To leave your home and go into a refuge or emergency accommodation.

  • To stay in your home and have added security features fitted to keep you safe.

  • To apply for a transfer or mutual exchange if you are a social tenant.

  • To stay with a friend or family member whilst we help you look for alternative accommodation.

  • To obtain a court order to keep the abuser away from you and your home.

  • To approach another local authority for help if you are at risk in Sutton.


It might be that you decide you are not ready to take any action and would just like some advice at this stage. That’s fine - we won’t pressure you to leave if you aren’t ready to and will be here if you decide you would like further advice or to take action in the future.

Useful information

Women's Aid have a useful guide to fleeing domestic abuse here: Making a Safety Plan

You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline 24 hours a day to talk to someone in confidence on 0808 2000 247

Not Alone in Sutton provides further information on domestic abuse and support available locally.