Starting Well - Adverse Childhood Experiences

Domestic Abuse


The Government define domestic abuse as

“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.”

Domestic violence includes physical, psychological, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can affect anyone irrespective of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age or disability.  It is estimated that around 2 million people each year experience domestic violence, two thirds of whom are women.  Domestic abuse affects around 6% of the population.  It is estimated that only 1 in 6 victims report the abuse to police and so it is very much a hidden problem. 

The relationship between the effects of domestic violence, physical and mental well-being is well documented. Psychological and physical effects of abuse can be felt for many years often with the continuation of psychological/mental health issues, chronic physical health problems as well familial and socioeconomic impacts.

Domestic abuse

Both nationally and locally, understanding the full extent of domestic abuse remains challenging, as it is known to be significantly under-reported. Applying the figures from the latest Crime Survey England & Wales to the local population (aged 16-59 yrs) it is estimated that in Hartlepool:

  • 2,200 women & 1,000 men were a victim of domestic abuse in the last year
  • 7,200 women & 3,400 men having experienced domestic abuse during their lifetime.
  • 700 women and 150 men have experienced some form of sexual assault (including attempts) in the last 12 months.


Based on reported domestic related crime in 2015/16 it is estimated that the cost to society of abuse in Hartlepool is at least £15 million, the equivalent to £165 per head of population.

  • £9 million of the total cost estimate relates to the physical and emotional impact on direct victims.
  • £6 million of total cost is in relation to the impact of sexual offences.
  • £2.1 million Criminal Justice System.
  • £1.2 million Health Services.

Locally, in Hartlepool both domestic abuse incident and crime rates are higher than the national average1. In comparison to our local peers Hartlepool has the second highest rate per 1,000 population for domestic abuse incidents, repeat incidents and domestic related crimes in the Cleveland area.

Domestic abuse Crime rates graph



During the last 12 months up to April 2016 in Hartlepool Cleveland Police recorded 2,490 domestic abuse incidents, of which 930 (37.3%) were recorded as domestic related crimes. In line with the national trend, the number of domestic related crimes recorded in Hartlepool are following an increasing trend which is largely attributed to improvements in police recording practice as a result of changes to National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS), and in response to recommendations highlighted in the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse that noted inconsistencies in the identification and recording of domestic abuse.

There is a clear relationship in Hartlepool between the level of deprivation in an area and the prevalence of recorded domestic abuse incidents, with more than half of domestic abuse incidents occurring within the six most deprived wards in Hartlepool.

Similar to the national picture, women and girls in Hartlepool continue to be at the greatest risk of domestic abuse with more than three quarters of victims being female, and more than half being aged between 18-34 years. Whilst numbers are much lower than the number of female victims, male victimisation is evident with males aged between 25-44 years being at the greatest risk. One in ten domestic abuse incidents reported to and risk assessed by Cleveland Police were deemed high risk, accounting for largest proportion of high risk incidents across the Cleveland area.

Nine in ten domestic abuse perpetrators are male, with almost two thirds (62.6%) being aged between 18 and 34 years. With many of these male perpetrators, particularly repeat offenders, having been victims of or witness to domestic abuse during their childhood. Almost 20% of male perpetrators were repeat domestic abuse offenders, with one third of perpetrators having a previous criminal record related to domestic abuse. In relation to the complex needs of the perpetrators, the most commonly reported needs were alcohol misuse and drug misuse, followed by financial problems.

Three out of four victims accessing outreach support services report that the perpetrator of abuse was a male ex-intimate partner, with more than two thirds of clients reporting that they did not live with the perpetrator. Whilst female offending is evident, numbers remain low.

In the 12 months up to April 2016, more than 400 incidents of domestic abuse have been identified where children or young people have been present, accounting for 16.1% of all domestic abuse incidents recorded by the Police. In total these incidents have involved more than 700 children and young people.

Local analysis identifies that 20% of young people identified at risk of child sexual exploitation have been a victim or witness of domestic abuse in the last 12 months and 17% have been a victim of a sexual offence, with domestic abuse also being a key factor in children entering the care system, and is commonly associated with an increased risk of youth offending.

Local analysis identifies:

  • More than three quarters (77%) of domestic abuse victims who accessed specialist support services had one or more children aged 16 years and under.
  • Domestic abuse was a factor in more than one half (53%) of Looked after Children (LAC) cases.
  • 20% of young people identified as risk of Child Sexual Exploitation have been a victim or witness of domestic abuse in the last 12 months; 17% have been a victim of a sexual offence, and one third of young people have substance misuse issues.
  • Family and personal relationships, including domestic abuse, are commonly associated with increased risk of youth offending.
  • One in four domestic related crimes affecting young people aged 18 years and under involved domestic abuse in a teenage relationship.

Domestic Abuse

Current Services

Hartlepool Borough Council (Children’s and Joint Commissioning) commissions Harbour to provide specialist domestic abuse services in the town, including:

  • Refuge accommodation
  • Dispersed properties
  • Outreach support
  • IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) service
  • Victim group work programmes (e.g. The Freedom Programme)
  • Preventions programme ( perpetrators)
  • Children and young people service
  • Counselling

Future intentions

The current contract between Hartlepool Borough Council and Harbour expires on 31st March 2020 with an option to extend for two additional 12 month periods.