On this page you will find information on where to go for help, information about Clare’s Law and the the Defence domestic abuse strategy and policy:

Domestic abuse can, and does, happen to anyone. It is indiscriminate of age, gender, race, profession – including the Armed Forces.

Domestic abuse is defined by the Government 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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse”.

Domestic abuse support for RAF personnel and families

Service specific support

Created by AFFS Safeguarding Policy Team, this document highlights the confidential Service specific support and overseas support available to personnel and family members affected by domestic abuse.

RAF Personal Support and Social Work Service (PS&SWS)

Telephone: 03000 111 723 (available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
Email: [email protected] (monitored during office hours, Monday to Friday 0830 – 1700)

MOD Domestic Abuse Support list

How Defence personnel affected by domestic abuse should be supported

Joint Service Publication (JSP) 913 details how Defence personnel affected by domestic abuse should be supported and sets out roles and responsibilities of the organisation. As well as highlighting what support is available to victims/survivors it includes;

  • Information on the new definition of domestic abuse as contained in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021
  • Details of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS)
  • Guidance for line managers on supporting affected personnel in the workplace
JSP 913 - Domestic Abuse Policy - cover

‘No Defence for Abuse’

Defence Domestic Abuse Strategy

The MOD has launched it’s refreshed Domestic Abuse Action PlanNo Defence for Abuse’. It sets out how Domestic Abuse is to be tackled within Defence over the next 5 years. It reinforces their ongoing work to provide a robust response to Domestic Abuse issues, prioritise support for victims-survivors and hold perpetrators to account.

This strategy will work to ensure access to good quality services to serving personnel and families as soon as possible in order to ensure victims feel comfortable and empowered to seek help. This will be achieved through prevention, intervention and partnering with internal and external agencies and organisations.

There is no defence for abuse.

Download ‘No Defence for Abuse’ here >

No Defence for Abuse

The Military Context

The strategy explains:

  • What constitutes domestic abuse including controlling and coercive behaviour, financial abuse, threatening and violent behaviour and acts that that are intended to harm, intimidate or frighten their victim.
  • What Defence’s statutory obligation is and their commitments are towards domestic abuse.
  • Acknowledgement of the unique nature of service life that can place extra stressors on service families which include long periods of separation, frequent moves, isolation, belief that a victim may not be believed by a chain of command, rank structure and concerns about potential loss of livelihood.

Strategy Commitments

The Strategy has several key commitments:

  • The Strategy strives to remove the stigma surrounding domestic abuse in order to create a culture where victims confidence to report abusive behaviour safe in the knowledge that they will be believed and offered appropriate and professional support.
  • Serving family members who are either victim or perpetrator will be supported with specialist interventions and treated in professional and caring manner.
  • Chain of command will act upon reported domestic abuse in a sensitive and timely manner and will engage with relevant specialist organisations whether in UK or overseas. This includes civilian staff and overseas civil servants.
  • The Strategy aims to enhance awareness of domestic abuse across all line managers whether military or civilian so that they are able to better identify indicators of abusive behaviour and provide the right support to staff and families.
  • To prioritise the needs of survivors and their children. This could mean finding alternative accommodation for Service perpetrators in order to reduce disruption to family life whilst professional support is put in place.

Victim Witness Care Unit

The Victim Witness Care Unit (VWCU), part of the Defence Serious Crime Command), provides a single point of contact to victims and witnesses during their journey through the Service Justice Process, providing support and guidance where required.

The VWCU provides holistic care and support to victims and witnesses ensuring that each victim is afforded their rights in accordance with the code of practice for victims of crime (JSP 839).

ssafa logo

SSAFA

SSAFA provide RAF personnel and families with confidential personal support and social work services outside the chain of command. SSAFA also have sheltered housing for women and children.

Phone: 03000 111 723
Email: [email protected]

ssafa logo

Sheltered housing for women and children (SSAFA)

Women of the Armed Forces community may find themselves without somewhere to live or require a place of safety. SSAFA’s Stepping Stone home provides a comfortable, secure and female-only place to stay for as long as you need to get back on your feet.

Sheltered housing for women and children (ssafa.org.uk) >

Safe spaces to seek help and make a call

UK Says No More

UK says no more has joined with pharmacies including Boots, Superdrug, Morrisons and some independent pharmacies to launch the Safe Spaces scheme for people experiencing domestic abuse. It provides Safe spaces, located within the pharmacy’s consultation room, where victims of domestic abuse can access specialist support, phone a helpline, contact a support service or talk to a friend or family member. Walk into participating pharmacies and ask at the healthcare counter to use their Safe Space.

Online Safe Spaces are now being offered too, a webpage that leaves no trace in your internet history.

Ask for ANI

Government Codeword scheme

The Government codeword scheme is available if you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help, ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. ‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but also phonetically sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.

Information and support for male survivors of Domestic Abuse

ACORN recovery programme for male survivors of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse helplines and services

  • Free, 24 hour National Domestic Abuse helpline 0808 2000 247

  • Aurora Stalking services for advice and safety planning

  • Bright Sky is a free mobile app which is designed to be used by anyone looking for more information about domestic abuse, including online safety, stalking and harassment and sexual consent

  • Emergency Injunction Service – a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic abuse and violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation.

  • GALOP offers support for LGBT people experiencing abuse: 0800 999 5428

  • The Male Survivors Partnership is for men experiencing domestic abuse 0808 800 5005

  • The Mankind Initiative an alternative helpline for men being abused by a current or former partner 01823 334244

  • National Stalking helpline 0808 802 0330

  • Refuge is a source of support and advice including links to local services if you need them

  • Respect provides a Mens Advice Line to support male victims of domestic abuse and also provide advice for concerned family, friends and Frontline Workers who may be supporting male victims

  • WEPROTECT free app and online portal provides support and access to legal aid/support for domestic abuse victims.  A referral can be made through WEBPROTECT to support the victim through their legal journey. A victim can access early legal assistance and protection, specialist legal representation in court, legal aid for those eligible, pro-bono support for victims with no access to public or private finance.

  • WomensAid provide plenty of online ways to access support and links to local services where you are

  • The Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has produced a self help guide around Domestic Abuse

Germany

The British Forces Social Work Services Central Referral Team can help you and the person who is being hurt to stay safe. Contact the Team on 0800 724 3176 to find out what services there are to help you.

If there is an emergency, always call the Royal Military Police BFG CRIMELINE – 0800 184 2222

Cyprus

 SSAFA are contracted to provide the services and strategies required to deal and support with DA in BFC and this includes support for victims, perpetrator programmes as well as safe houses. More information on the support available in Cyprus from SSAFA is on the SSAFA Cyprus Service Hub | SSAFA.

In an emergency, call the SBA Police on 112 or the Cyprus Joint Policing Unit on +357 2596 3300 or 94120 3300.

Rest of the World

If you need support anywhere else in the world you can find useful information here: Armed forces domestic abuse worldwide support (www.gov.uk)

Perpetrator programmes

Perpetrator programmes support participants to change behaviours, take responsibility for their actions and to acknowledge the impact of their abuse. Guidance is also provided on positive ways of behaving in relationships. There are several Perpetrator Programmes available throughout the UK and many of these accept self-referrals. Respect can provide you with a full list of Perpetrator Programmes in your area.

The Respect helpline

A free, anonymous and confidential helpline for anyone who is harming their partners and families. It provides specialist advice and guidance to help change their behaviours.

Phone: 0808 802 4040 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://respectphoneline.org.uk/  
Webchat is also available – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – 10-11am and 3-4pm

Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law)

Clare’s Law is a police policy which allows you to request information from the police if you believe your current or ex-partner may pose a danger to you.

What does it mean?

Under Clare’s Law you you have the right to ask for information from the police about a partners history to see if there has been a history of violence. You also gave the right to know which allows the police to disclose any information if they feel their records suggest a potential risk.

How to make an application?

  • Speak to your local police service on 101
  • Attend your nearest civilian or Service Police station
  • Online, via your local constabulary’s website

Domestic Abuse reports by the Service Police

The MOD has published an information leaflet that provides a timeline for the investigation of a domestic abuse report by the Service Police, what you can expect if you make a report, and forms of  support available for victims of domestic abuse

Service Police Investigation timeline and support for victims of domestic abuse - cover

Additional domestic abuse policy and links