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New police guidance could “transform police response to domestic abuse”

21 September 2015

Citizens Advice has today said that having those providing public services trained to recognise domestic abuse, including coercive control, can help victims get much-needed support.  The national charity welcomes new guidance from the College of Policing to help police officers identify patterns of domestic abuse.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

"The new guidance could help transform the police response to domestic abuse. The intervention of police can be the first time authorities are made aware of domestic abuse, so it is crucial police can recognise abuse and feel able to encourage victims to seek specialist support. Whether the police recognise domestic abuse can also have consequences for victims who later need evidence to obtain legal aid to help them separate from an abuser or protect their children.

"There are many forms of domestic abuse including financial and emotional abuse as well as physical violence. Having the people providing public services, including the police and health services, trained to look out for the signs of all forms of domestic abuse would help victims access much-needed support.

“Friends and family are often the only ones that know that someone is suffering domestic abuse, so it is important that the public as well as the authorities are aware of the different ways victims can suffer from domestic abuse and how to support them. We have put together guidance to help family and friends know what steps they can take to support a victim of abuse."

If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, or you are concerned someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, you can seek help by calling confidential helplines:

  • If the victim is a woman, you can get help from the freephone, twenty-four hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership by Refuge and Women's Aid)

  • If the victim is a man, you can get help from the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327

  • If the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you can get specialised help from Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 5428

  • If you live in Wales you can call the bilingual Live Fear Free national helpline on 0808 80 10 800

You can also come in to seek help around domestic abuse from your local Citizens Advice Bureau and online at

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.