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Domestic abuse and sexual violence

Man and woman arguing

Domestic abuse 

Domestic violence or abuse is a crime that has a devastating impact on individuals and the community. It is more common than you may think and accounts for a quarter of all violent crime in West Sussex.

It is estimated that 1 in every 4 women and 1 in every 6 men have been a victim of abuse at some point in their life. Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality or religion.

Domestic violence is defined 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. This can include, but is not limited, to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person inferior 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.

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.

Some of the things that someone close to you may be doing are:

  • Withholding your money
  • Threatening you
  • Threatening your children
  • Breaking things in the house
  • Playing 'mind games' with you
  • Ridiculing your beliefs
  • Stalking you
  • Isolating you from family and friends
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Harassing you.

You may feel trapped, scared, degraded and unable to do anything about your situation.

If you are concerned about your own, or someone else’s, situation visit the West Sussex County Council domestic violence page for more information and links to a range of support services available.

WORTH services is an Independent Domestic Violence Advisory (IDVA) service that identifies, assesses and assists people in West Sussex who have been affected by domestic abuse. Find out more on the WORTH services page.

Safe in Sussex is a registered charity offering support to individuals and their families who are affected by domestic abuse. It runs 2 refuges, including a child support service and facilitates group work in the community for adults, children and young people. For more information call 01903 219994 (admin line) or, for urgent queries, contact the helpline on 01903 231939 (Mon-Fri 9.30-4pm).

For urgent advice, please phone or report to Sussex police by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.

Sexual violence

The Saturn Centre provides a range of services to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. These services are available whether or not the assault has been reported to the police.

For more information, and if you need help now, contact the Saturn Centre by calling 01293 600 469 (24 hour answer phone).

Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex (RCSAS) runs a women only (clients and staff) service.  Any woman or girl aged 13 or older who has experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in her life is welcome and encouraged to receive their support.

For urgent advice, please phone or report to Sussex police by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.

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