The new definition of domestic violence and abuse now states:

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
  • emotional

Coercive behaviour is: an 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.

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.

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.


  • The person isn’t allowed to speak
  • They are being controlled by their partner/family member
  • They look frightened/withdrawn.
  • Physical injuries (bruises, cuts, red marks etc).
  • Financial control- unable to make payments due to their money being controlled.
  • Excessive noise/arguments from a room or complaints from other residents
  • Signs of a disturbance in a hotel room.


  • Police should always attend reports of domestic violence – early intervention is key.
  • Always believe the victim.
  • Act quickly and confidently.
  • Allocate a staff member to stay with the victim in a private area. Always believe the victim - Listen, reassure and try not to judge.
  • Call 999 ask for the police - the suspect may still be on premises.
  • Be aware of the ‘Silent Solution system’ – If you call 999 from a mobile but are unable to speak, listen to the questions of the operator, respond by coughing or tapping handset if you can, press ‘55’ – this will then inform police they are dealing with a genuine emergency.
  • Ask for an ambulance if the victim is injured.
  • Have a staff member allocated to meet with police/LAS on arrival
  • If victim refuses to remain, make a written record with as much detail as possible including what was said, what was heard, descriptions, injuries etc.
  • If suspect is still present, try and encourage them to stay at location until police arrival – but do not put yourself at risk. Should they leave, make notes of any details known about the suspect including appearance, dress, distinguishing features, vehicle driven etc
  • Secure CCTV
  • If there are signs of a disturbance in the hotel room – secure & do not allow anyone to enter. This is potentially a crime scene.
  • Give the victim information about a domestic abuse support service.


There are various toolkits available to assist employers in preventing and providing support for domestic violence.

Click here for our spotting the signs business guide.

www.bitc.org.uk – Produced by Public Health England.

Bright Sky App – is a free mobile app providing support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.

For further information:

Contact the City of London Public Protection Unit – [email protected]

Spotting the Signs Business Guide 2020

www.crimestoppers-uk.org - Give information anonymously

Vulnerable Victims Advocate- [email protected] / 07944634946

Victim Supportline- 0808 1689 111



National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247


Galop (LGBT service)- 020 7704 2040


ManKind- 01823 334244


Solace Women’s Aid- 0808 802 5565

IKWRO (Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation)- + 44 207 920 6460

Ashiana- [email protected]