In Rochdale borough, domestic violence and abuse affects thousands of adults and children each year.
Here you can find advice, information and services for:
- Victims of domestic abuse
- Children and young people who are living with domestic abuse
- People who are worried someone might be living in an abusive home
- Victims of honour based violence
- Adults and teenagers who commit abuse and need to find help and support
What is domestic violence and abuse?
Domestic violence and abuse includes a range of abusive behaviours which are used by an abusive partner, ex-partner or family member to maintain power and control over the victim. It's rarely a one off incident but an on-going pattern of behaviour and takes place regardless of social background, age, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity.
Domestic violence and abuse can take different forms including but not limited to:
- Physical abuse: pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons.
- Sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography.
- Financial abuse: taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work.
- Emotional abuse or coercive control: repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, playing mind games. Coercive control is now a criminal offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015.
- Digital or online abuse: using technology to further isolate, humiliate or control someone.
- Honour based violence: this is abuse justified to protect the honour or respect of a family or community, such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Not all abuse involves physical violence or threat. Controlling and coercive behaviour can also leave deep and lasting scars. Recognising the warning signs of abuse is the first step but taking action is the most important step in breaking free.
Feeling uncomfortable or being afraid in your relationship is the number one warning sign that your relationship isn't healthy.
Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer 'yes' to one or more of them, you may be experiencing domestic abuse.
Does your abuser:
- Use physical or sexual violence without warning?
- Tease you in a hurtful way and play it off as a 'joke' or tell you you're being too sensitive?
- Call you names such as 'stupid' and 'useless'?
- Act jealous of your friends, family, or co-workers or coerce you into avoiding or not spending time with them?
- Get angry about or make you change the clothes and shoes you wear, how you style your hair, or whether or not you wear makeup and how much?
- Check up on you by repeatedly calling, driving by or getting someone else to?
- Go places with you or send someone just to 'keep an eye on you'?
- Insist on knowing who you talk with on the phone, check your call log or phone bill?
- Blame you for their problems or their bad mood?
- Get angry so easily that you feel like you're 'walking on eggshells'?
- Do things to scare you?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family?
- Accuse you of being interested in someone else or cheating on them?
- Read your email, check your computer history, go through your purse or other personal papers?
- Keep money from you or keep you in debt?
- Keep you from working or doing a course or learning to drive?
- Threaten to hurt you, your children, family, friends or pets?
- Force you to have sex when you don't want to?
- Force you to have sex in ways that you don't want to?
- Threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave?
- Act like "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," acting one way in front of other people and another way when you're alone?
If you're a victim of domestic abuse, there's a range of support available to help you:
Contact the police
- In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for help.
- For non-emergency police assistance, dial 101 for the Greater Manchester Police Switchboard (24-hour service).
Get specialist support
Here are some support services who have expertise in supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse:
- Safenet - Provides refuge accommodation services and floating support services to men and women: 01706 868896
- Victim Support Rochdale - Provides support to all victims living within Rochdale borough. They can also help you in attending court, if needed: 0161 856 5810
- Rochdale Women's Welfare Association - Support for Black and Minority Ethnic women: 01706 860157
- Clare's Law - If you're worried about your partner or ex-partner's behaviour, you can find out if they've a criminal history of violence or abuse in their previous relationships. You can also request this information about the partner of a close friend or family member, if you're concerned about them.
- St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre - Provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare support to any victims of rape or sexual assault.
- Women's Aid - Offering information and support to women and children who are victims of domestic abuse: 0808 2000 247
- The Freedom Programme for women - A FREE and confidential 12-week programme for women who want to know more about domestic abuse. It aims to:
- Help women to identify abusive behaviours and beliefs held by abusive men.
- Help women gain self-esteem and confidence to improve the quality of their lives.
- Show how domestic abuse affects children.
- Help women to recognise future abusers and move onto free lives.
- The Men's Advice Line - a national charity dedicated to helping and supporting male victims of domestic abuse. On their website, you'll find:
- Information about Men's Advice Line and how you can contact them
- Myths about domestic violence against men
- What you can do to try and make yourself safer
- Advice if you've children with your abusive partner
- Details of other people and organisations who you can contact for support
- Information about who you can contact for legal support and advice
Find out about alternative housing
For alternative housing, advice or refuge accommodation (safe house), contact:
- Rochdale Homeless Team:
0300 303 8548, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.
0300 303 8875, out of hours
- Manchester Domestic Violence Helpline: 0161 636 7525, 8am to 4pm
- National Domestic Violence Helpline (24-hour national helpline): 0808 2000 247
- Leopold Court (emergency housing): 01706 712977
- Paws for Kids Safe Haven Project - pet fostering service for any victim of domestic abuse within Greater Manchester who has a domestic pet and is fleeing to temporary accommodation
If you're a man in an abusive relationship, it's important to know that you're not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life, regardless of age, occupation or sexual orientation.
Figures suggest that as many as 1 in 6 victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed or they fear they won't be believed, or worse, that police will assume that since they're male, they're the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim.
It's important to know that all victims have the same rights to protection and support. In Rochdale borough, we have a range of support available to help you.
Who to contact:
Victim Support Rochdale - provides support to all victims living within Rochdale borough. They can also help you in attending court, if needed: 0161 856 5810
I want to help a child or young person affected by domestic abuse
Notice the signs: the physical, psychological and emotional effects of domestic violence on children can vary according to their age and gender or the frequency and type of violence they're witnessing but very often the effects can be severe and long-lasting.
Some signs that are commonly seen with children experiencing and witnessing domestic abuse include:
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and flashbacks of violent incidents.
- Easily startled.
- Complaining of physical symptoms such as tummy aches.
- Wetting their bed.
- Temper tantrums, aggression, anger or confusion.
- Suffering from depression, stress or anxiety.
- Attachment or protectiveness towards non-abusing parent.
- Poor self-esteem, shyness or withdrawing from contact with people.
- Behaving as though they're much younger than they are.
- Difficulties at schools with learning and behaviour, rebellion against authority figures.
- Playing truant or using alcohol or drugs.
- Self-harming, for example taking overdoses, cutting themselves, under-eating.
- Forming inappropriate relationships or friendship.
- Finding it difficult to communicate or express their feelings.
- Resenting the non-abusing parent for putting up with the abuse or not standing up for themselves.
If you're concerned that a child or young person is experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse, there's a lot you can do to help.
Try talking to them as this can help them to address the negative effects of the experience. Remember not to pressure them or threaten them. Make time for them to come to you if they want to.
Report the abuse: if you're concerned about a child or young person’s safety, you can contact the Complex Early Help and Safeguarding Hub, Monday-Friday from 8.45am-4.45pm on 0300 303 0440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Outside these hours, call 0300 303 8875.
I am a child or young person wanting help and support
If you're a child or young person living with violence at home, you're not alone .There are many others in your situation and help is available. It’s important to remember that the abuse is not your fault. There are many abusive relationships which don’t include children or young people.
- Childline - A free, 24-hour confidential helpline for children and young people who need to talk. Trained counsellors are there to provide support and advice about any problem that’s on your mind: 0800 1111.
- The Hideout - A website for children and young people to help you understand domestic violence and abuse and how to take positive action if it’s happening to you.
- Disrespect Nobody - A website for young people, where you'll find information about abuse in relationships and how to get help and support.
Who else can help?
- School Nursing Service - provides confidential advice face to face and by text message.
- #Thrive - child and adolescent mental health service.
- Many schools and academies are able to help and support children and young people affected by domestic violence and abuse within the school. For further information, please ask your class or form teacher.
- NSPCC - national charity providing helping and support on many difficulties children and young people are faced with.
Other contact details
- Resolve - a service for children and young people, aged 5-19, who have experienced or are currently experiencing domestic abuse - 0161 633 599
- Home-Start - home visits to provide support to parents in various situations - for example, isolation, addressing child's health needs, healthy eating, signposting for children and adults, autism support for parents and siblings - 01706 629651.
- Talk English Project - for people with low levels of English to help improve their language skills, access service and get more involved in the community.
- Rochdale & District Mind - mental health support.
- Early Break - drug and alcohol support service for under 18s.
- The Sunrise Team - support for young people who've experienced child sexual exploitation.
Operation Encompass is a police and school partnership which supports children and young people exposed to domestic abuse.
All primary and secondary schools in the borough are part of Operation Encompass. Our schools always endeavour to offer the best support possible for our students.
How it works
When a Rochdale borough child is witness to or involved in a domestic abuse incident Rochdale borough Police will:
- Notify the child's school at the start of the next school day. When an incident occurs on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the police will contact the school on the following Monday.
- Give information in confidence to the school's key adult. The key adult is also known as the designated safeguarding lead. You can see details about the key adult at your child's school on the school's website.
Schools in the borough will then be able to:
- Recognise a child's situation immediately and discretely.
- Create a secure and sympathetic environment.
- Provide quick support within the school environment. Children who access immediate support are better safeguarded against the short, medium and long-term effects of domestic abuse.
The below link shows a YouTube video of a Rochdale borough Police officer explain what Operation Encompass is, why it's important, what the police will be doing in the borough and what their future plans for Operation Encompass are.
Watch PC Kirsten Buggy explain Operation Encompass on YouTube (external link).
Most domestic violence and abuse is perpetrated by men over women although women can also be abusive and abuse can take place in same sex relationships.
- Shout at your partner or ex-partner?
- Say things you later regret?
- Hit your partner?
- Smash things up?
- Show no respect to your partner?
- Have a problem with jealousy?
If you're able answer yes to any of the above, it's likely you're abusing your partner or ex- partner.
- Worried that your abusive behaviour is escalating?
- Concerned your children are witnessing arguments frequently?
Facing up to a problem is the hardest part of the process in embedding positive change but once you have been able to accept that your behaviour is abusive and requires improvement, support is available to help you make positive changes.
Striving for Change Rochdale
Striving for Change is a service for men and women across Rochdale borough who are abusive in their intimate relationships and want to access support to address their behaviour.
The programme aims to help you become aware of unhealthy behaviours at an early stage so you can stop the situation from escalating. They'll also support you in working towards changing your behaviour so you can improve your relationship with your current or ex-partners. The programme is available to all men and women over the age of 18.
There are short and long-term programmes available to you. The type of programme they'll offer you will depend on your individual needs. Some programmes also provide support to your partner or ex-partners and your children.
How Striving for Change works
Upon receiving a referral, they aim to contact you within one week and invite you for a 1:1 assessment at a central location. After this assessment, they'll offer you a suitable programme. Early evening appointments are available if you work during the day.
For more information, contact Striving for Change at email@example.com or call 07715 665019.
Rochdale Connection Trust (RCT)
RCT offer a 12 month 'male perpetrator programme', for men wanting to change their lives.
The programme explores where your controlling behaviour has evolved from and provides you with strategies and encouragement to alter and improve your situation. You need to self-refer to the programme to demonstrate your commitment to making positive changes.
For more information call 07748 780871.
Respect phoneline is a national, confidential and anonymous helpline for anyone concerned about their violence or abuse towards a partner or ex-partner. A team of skilled professionals can offer advice, information and support to help you stop being violent and abusive to your partner.
You can call the helpline on 0800 802 4040
The phoneline is open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm and it's FREE from landlines and most mobile phones.
More information about Respect Phoneline (external link)
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We have different programmes available to help young people who are abusive towards family members.
Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse programme (APVA)
Is the APVA programme for you?
Our APVA programme is for families where young people, aged 10 -17, are aggressive towards people close to them - like their siblings, parents or carers. This includes behaviour like hitting, making threats, damaging things in the home and financial and emotional abuse.
How can you access the APVA programme?
If you’re interested in accessing the programme or would like more information, contact Dee Alletson on email@example.com or by calling 01706 924691.
How can our APVA programme help you?
Our programme provides 1:1 support to family members and the young person who's abusive. Individual sessions take place with the young person and parent, family member or carer and we also offer joint sessions. The aim of the programme is to offer simple, practical solutions early on and to stop the abuse from escalating.
Break4Change programme (B4C)
Is the B4C programme for you?
B4C is a 10-week programme for families where a young person, aged 11-16, is being abusive towards their parent or carer, including behaviours such as hitting, name calling, making threats, stealing money and damaging possessions in the home.
How can you access the B4C programme?
If you’re interested in accessing the programme or would like more information, contact one of the following people:
- Dee Alletson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01706 924691
- Emily Nickson-Williams: email@example.com or 01706 926202
How can our B4C programme help you?
Our B4C programme uses 3 main approaches to help young people address their behaviour and make positive changes:
- Young person's group - we provide educational and therapeutic sessions together with a creative aspect so that each young person is able to revisit and process what they learn in the session.
- Parent's group - we provide supportive discussions with parents to understand the scale of the abuse and the effects it's had on the family. There's also a chance to share experience and advice with other parents.
- Filming aspect - we enable the young person and their parents to hear, often for the first time, how the young person views themselves.
What is honour based violence or abuse (HBVA)?
HBVA is a collection of actions which are used to control behaviour and exert power within families to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and honour.
Such violence can occur when an abuser perceives that someone has shamed the family or community by breaking their honour code. The individual is being punished for actually, or allegedly, undermining what the family or community believes to be the correct code of behaviour.
So-called 'honour based violence' is a fundamental abuse of human rights. If a child or young person under the age of 18 is at risk of HBVA, it's a safeguarding issue and they could be at risk of significant harm.
Types of HBVA include:
- Forced Marriage
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Honour Killing
- Gender select abortion - often aborting a female foetus
- Dowry abuse – pressuring mainly brides to get gifts, high value items, land or property from their own family to give to the groom or the groom's family. It can take place before, during and anytime after the marriage
- Domestic violence - physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse
- Sexual harassment and sexual violence - rape and sexual assault or threat of rape and sexual assault
- Threats to kill
- Social exclusion or rejection and emotional pressure
- House arrest - not being allowed to leave the house alone
- Excessive restrictions of freedom - for example, not able to choose their own clothes, diet or leisure and social activities
- Denial of further education or employment
- Limited or no access to the telephone, internet or passport and other key documents
- Isolation from friends and own family
Who's at risk of honour based violence?
Women and girls are most at risk of becoming victims of HBVA. You're also at greater risk if you're:
- A member of the LGBT community
- Considered too 'western' by your family or community members
- Having an interfaith relationship
- Seeking a divorce or separation against your family’s approval
- Pregnant outside of marriage or have given birth outside of marriage
- Marrying a person of your own choice without your family's approval
- Accessing higher education without your family's approval
Where can you get help?
- If you're in immediate danger, call 999
- If you need non-emergency police assistance, call 101 for the Greater Manchester police switchboard's 24-hour service
- Forced Marriage Unit - offers help if you're being forced to marry or scared you may be forced into marriage: 020 7008 0151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Guardian Project - provides help and advice to young children and girls up to the age of 21. It also provides support to familes affected by FGM as well as professionals in risk assessing and signposting to appropriate services: 07449 651 677
- Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association - specialist support for women experiencing honour-based violence and abuse: 01706 860157
How to tell if someone is a victim
It's sometimes difficult to know if a relative, friend, neighbour or colleague is experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Victims and perpetrators come from various walks of life. Victims aren't always passive with low self-esteem and perpetrators aren't always violent or hateful to their partner in front of others. Most people experiencing relationship violence don't tell others what goes on at home.
Signs to look for include:
Injuries and excuses: sometimes bruises and injuries may occur frequently and be in obvious places. The victim may be forced to call in sick to work or face the embarrassment and make excuses about how the injuries occurred. Sometimes bruises and other injuries may be inflicted in places where they won't show.
Low self-esteem: some victims have low self-esteem, while others have confidence and esteem in some areas of their life (for example, at work) but not within their relationship. They may feel powerless in dealing with the relationship and believe they couldn't make it on their own or are somehow better off having the abuser in their life.
Personality changes: you may notice that a normally outgoing person becomes quiet and shy around their partner and is agreeing with them all the time. This could be a victim's way of dealing with abuse and not wanting to challenge the perpetrator for fear of repercussions.
Self-blame: you may notice someone taking all of the blame for things that go wrong. They may share a story about something that happened at home and then say it was all their fault. If this happens a lot, it may be a sign that this person is experiencing domestic abuse.
Isolation and control: in general, adults who are physically abused are often isolated. The abuser often exerts control over their victim's life, wanting to be the centre of their universe and limit their access to anyone who might help them escape. You might notice that someone:
- Has limited access to the phone.
- Often makes excuses about why they can't see you or insists that their partner has to come along.
- Doesn't seem to be able to make decisions about spending money.
- Isn't allowed to drive, go on courses or work.
- Has a noticeable change in self-esteem which might include being unable to make eye contact or looking away or at the ground when talking.
How can you help?
If there's a threat of immediate danger to anyone, dial 999.
If you notice any of the above signs and are concerned about someone, there's a lot you can do to help:
- Try talking to the person affected and help them to address the problems they're experiencing. Remember not to pressure them to disclose the abuse in detail or make decisions they're unsure about.
- Ask if they've suffered physical harm. If so, offer to take them to a hospital or to see the GP. Get the medical professional to record the visit.
- Support them to report the assault to the police if they choose to do so.
- Be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help and support to victims, children and young people.
I’m still living with my abuser - how can I stay safer?
If you're still living with your abuser, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your children. It's important to plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse.
To help you prepare to stay safer, use this plan - Domestic violence safety plan (227kb pdf)
Steps to increase safety for you and your children include:
- Cover your tracks online. If you're worried about someone knowing which websites you've visited, read these steps to increase your online safety (external link)
- Plan how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations. Think about the different options that may be available to you.
- Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers, for example, domestic violence support service and helplines, the police domestic violence unit, your GP, your social worker if you have one, your children’s school and your solicitor.
- Teach your children to call 999 in an emergency, and what they'd need to say, for example, their full name, address and phone number.
- Are there neighbours you can trust, where you could go in an emergency? If so, tell them what's going on, and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack.
- Rehearse an escape plan, so that in an emergency you and the children can get away safely.
- Pack an emergency bag for you and your children, and hide it somewhere safe, for example, at a reliable neighbour’s or friend’s house. Your bag should include:
- Some form of identification
- Birth certificates for you and your children
- Passports, including passports for all your children, visas and work permits
- Money, bank books, cheque books, credit and debit cards
- Keys for the house, car and place of work. Get an extra set of keys cut for the emergency bag
- Cards for payment of child benefit and any other welfare benefits you're entitled to
- Driving license if you have one and any car registration documents
- Prescribed medication
- Copies of documents relating to your housing tenure, for example, mortgage details or lease and rental agreements
- Insurance documents, including national insurance number
- Address book
- Family photographs, your diary, jewellery, small items of sentimental value
- Clothing and toiletries for you and your children
- Your children’s favourite small toys
- Any documentation relating to the abuse, for example, police reports, court orders, medical records
- Try to keep a small amount of money on you at all times – including change for the phone and bus fares.
- Know where the nearest phone is and if you have a mobile phone, try to keep it with you.
- If you suspect that your abuser is about to attack you, try to go to a lower risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone. Avoid the kitchen or garage where there are likely to be knives or other weapons, and avoid rooms where you might be trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
- Be prepared to leave the house in an emergency.
- If at all possible, try to set aside a small amount of money each week, or even open a separate bank account.
How can I leave my abuser safely?
There may come a time when you feel the only option is to leave your abuser.
If you do decide to leave, it's best if you can plan this carefully. Sometimes abusers will increase their abuse if they suspect you're thinking of leaving and will continue to do so after you've left, so this can be a particularly dangerous time for you.
It's advisable to get support from a specialist domestic violence abuse agency, the police or a solicitor. They'll help explore the risk of further harm and the options available to you.
If you're planning to leave you should:
- Leave at a time you know your abuser won't be around.
- Try to take everything you'll need with you, including any important documents relating to yourself and your children, as you may not be able to return later.
- Take your children with you, otherwise it may be difficult or impossible to have them living with you in future.
- If your children are at school, make sure that the headteacher and all your children's teachers know about the situation and who will be collecting the children in future.
Planning it doesn’t mean you have to carry it through immediately – or at all. But it may help to consider all the options and how you could overcome the difficulties involved.
How can I stay safer after I've left my abuser?
If you leave your abuser, you may not want everyone to know the reason. However, it might increase your safety if you tell your family and friends, your children’s school, and your employer or college what's happening, so that they don't inadvertently give out any information to your abuser. They'll also be more prepared and better able to help you in an emergency.
If you've left home, but are staying in the same town or area, these are some ways in which you might be able to increase your safety:
- Try not to place yourself in a vulnerable position or isolate yourself.
- Try to avoid any places, such as shops, banks, cafes, that you used to use when you lived together.
- Try to alter your routines as much as you can.
- If you've any regular appointments that your abuser knows about, for example with a counsellor or health practitioner. Try to change the time and/or location of the appointment.
- Try to choose a safe route or change the route you take or the form of transport you use, when going to and from places you can't avoid – such as your place of work, children’s school or GP surgery.
- Tell your children’s school, nursery or childminder what's happened and let them know who will pick up your children. Make sure they don't release the children to anyone else or give your new address or telephone number to anyone. You may want to establish a password with them and give them copies of any court orders.
- Consider telling your employer or others at your place of work – particularly if you think your abuser may try to contact you there.
If you've moved away from your area and don’t want your abuser to know where you are, take particular care with anything that may indicate your location. For example:
- Your mobile phone could be ‘tracked’. This is only supposed to happen if you've given your permission, but if your abuser has had access to your phone, they could have sent a consenting message purporting to come from you. If you think this might be the case, contact the company providing the tracking facility and withdraw your permission. If you're in any doubt, change your phone.
- Try to avoid using shared credit or debit cards or joint bank accounts. If the statement is sent to your abuser, they'll see the transactions you've made.
- Make sure that your address doesn't appear on any court papers. If you're staying in a refuge, they'll advise you on this.
- If you need to phone your abuser or anyone he's in contact with, make sure your telephone number is untraceable by dialling 141 before ringing.
- Talk to your children about the need to keep your address and location confidential.
What can I do if the abuse continues?
In an emergency, always call the police on 999.
If your abuser continues to harass, threaten or abuse you, make sure you keep detailed records of each incident, including the date and time it occurred, what was said or done and, if possible, photographs of damage to your property or injuries to yourself or others.
If your abuser injures you, see your GP or go to hospital for treatment and ask them to document your visit.
Look into your legal options. If you've an injunction with a power of arrest or if there's a restraining order in place, you should ask the police to enforce this. If your abuser is in breach of any court order, you should also tell your solicitor.