Skip to main content

Information and guidance for public servants about dealing with suspected domestic abuse and sexual violence.

People working in the public sector are likely to come into contact with people suffering from domestic abuse and sexual violence. It is important to know what to do.


The National Training Framework can provide training on:

  • basic awareness of what violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence is
  • how to recognise domestic abuse and sexual violence
  • help available to victims
  • communicating sensitively to victims.

Reporting incidents

Call 999 if it’s an emergency or someone is in immediate danger.

Domestic abuse or violence is a crime and should be reported to the police. The police take domestic violence seriously and will be able to help and protect victims. 

It is for your client to decide whether to report what has happened to them to the police. However if they are under 18, is a vulnerable adult or if there are associated risks to the general public, you should seek advice from your local safeguarding team or the police. 

For advice and support, if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, call Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800 or e-mail

Offering advice to the victim

It is important that all professionals can signpost victims appropriately and offer immediate safety advice to clients. This forms the basis of more detailed safety planning and may include:

  • ensuring the client knows to call 999 in an emergency
  • having details of local specialist services and the Live Fear Free Helpline on hand to share with clients
  • advising the client to try and keep their mobile phone with them at all times
  • encouraging the client to engage with services which can help them and their children.