Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Our Services A - Z :

Domestic Abuse

Please visit the Bedfordshire Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Partnership for information on partnership working in Bedfordshire.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline Tel: 0808 2000 247

The Bedfordshire Domestic and Sexual Abuse Partnership works across Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire. The Partnership work to safeguard victims and their families who have been affected by domestic abuse. They work to minimise risk and harm, in addition to supporting partner agencies and services who respond to domestic abuse.


What is domestic abuse?

In Bedford Borough we use the official Home Office definition of domestic abuse:

An 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 encompass and is not limited to the following types of abuse:


· Psychological 

· Physical

· Sexual 

· Financial 

· Emotional


Support for Domestic Abuse

Bedford Borough is committed to support anybody who has been affected by domestic abuse, in addition to working with professionals who want to improve their knowledge and or understanding of domestic abuse. For more information on where to go for help, local support services and or training please visit http://www.bedsdv.org.uk/ or contact us on bdap@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should call the Police on 999.
National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, staffed 24/7 with translations services available.

For information on accommodation in Bedford for anyone affected by domestic abuse, please click on this link to access the accommodation fact sheet Domestic Abuse Accommodation Fact Sheet.


For Domestic Abuse related areas associated with Bedford Borough only, please click on the framed links at the end of this introduction:


What is sexual abuse?

Sexual violence and abuse is any behavior perceived to be of a sexual nature, which is unwanted and takes place without consent.

Anyone can be a victim of rape or sexual violence, no matter what age he or she is.

Rapes and sexual assaults can be committed by:

·         someone you know

·         a relative

·         a stranger

·         a partner - someone you are in a relationship with.

If you need emotional support concerning sexual violence, please contact Rape Crisis http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/  Freephone 0808 802 999 (1200-14:30 and 19:00-21:30 every day  and 15:00-17:30pm weekends) 


What is a domestic abuse MARAC?

Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

MARAC are pleased to provide you with updated documentation to assist with your agencies participation in MARAC. The MARAC referral form provides all the details needed to enter a referral onto Modus along with guidance on the information necessary to complete the 'Referral Form' into the MARAC. This is the section that tells the MARAC why a case is being referred outlines the risks/concerns/actions needed.

The ACPO Risk Indicator Checklist (RIC) is for your records and is used by all MARAC professionals to assess the level of risk and assist you in deciding on the referral pathways you need to take. The MARAC referral criteria document clearly outlines the criteria for making a MARAC referral and when to make a re-referral into the MARAC for a case to be reviewed. It is hoped that these documents will provide clarity to all about when a referral should be made to MARAC, whether it is an initial referral or a repeat case.

Please share these documents with your colleagues. Click on here for further information on the Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire MARAC Information Sharing Protocol. If anyone has any queries about how, when or why to refer into MARAC please contact MARACenquiries@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

If you identify a case that you consider is high risk, you should first discuss this with your manager / MARAC lead & s/he will assist you in completion of the referral process.


General advice and information

For further information and advice regarding domestic abuse the Bedfordshire Domestic Violence Partnership website contains a wealth of information and advice – http://www.bedsdv.org.uk/ – alternatively please contact the partnership on bdap@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk 



Adolescent to Parent Violence (APVA)

Although there is no current legal definition, Adolescent to Parent Violence (APVA) is on the rise and is therefore becoming recognised as a form of domestic violence and abuse.

In fact 2015 saw 2,549 young people aged from 14 to 17 prosecuted due to domestic offences against family members.

Abuse can take different forms, including physical violence, damage to property and financial exploitation. Emotional abuse, such as humiliating language and making threats, as well as heightened sexualised behaviours are also forms of abuse.

The prevalence of APVA is difficult to gauge as the incidents that are reported are likely to only be a small percentage of the total instances. All forms of domestic violence and abuse are under-reported and this particularly translates to APVA, as parents feel particularly reluctant to report violence against their own child.

Over a one year period a study found that 87.3% of adolescents reported to the police for APVA were male and 77.5% of parent victims were female. It added that 66.7% of these incidents involved a mother-son relationships whereas son-father relationships accounted for 20.6% of cases. Daughter-mother relationships meanwhile accounted for 10.8% of reported incidents whilst daughter-father confrontations were just 1.9%.

There is no simple explanation as to why APVA occurs, but it is believed that substance abuse, mental health problems and learning difficulties are some of the factors that contribute to its occurrence. APVA can be particularly confusing for parents who have multiple children but only one that acts violently.

Our ‘Awareness of Domestic Violence and Abuse’ course has been amended to include a section on APVA. Click here to find out more



SafeLives third 'spotlight'

The third 'spotlight' on young people’s experience of domestic abuse.  The spotlight series focuses on different groups of people who can find it difficult to access domestic abuse support or have unmet needs; our findings provide professionals and policymakers with a better understanding of how to support these ‘harder to reach’ groups.

Each week from the end of January to the middle of March, professionals, experts and people with lived experience will be taking part in video interviews, writing blogs, short films and podcasts. We would love for you to be part of that conversation -  please do sign up to our webinar on 3 March 2017 (1-2pm) and an open Twitter Q&A with experts on 15th March (between 1 and 2pm) by following #SafeYoungLives.  If you want to let us know what you think any other time - just get in touch via our Twitter or Facebook page with the same hashtag. We want to hear from you, your experiences, your views and of course answer any questions. 

To find out more and access new content as its released over the next six weeks, please go to our Spotlight page on Young People. Together, we can build a clearer picture of what is is like for young people experiencing domestic abuse and how we can help them to become safer, sooner. 


National organisationscan be found at the links below:

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline (Telephone 0808 2000 247
  • Women's Aid - The national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. This site gives access to publications and research papers
  • Alcohol Concern - 'Grasping the Nettle: Alcohol and Domestic Violence'- This factsheet, authored by Dr Sarah Galvani provides an updated overview of the research on the association between alcohol and domestic violence and a clear outline of the implications for policy and practice
  • Asian Women centre
  • Behind Closed Doors - The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children-Unicef Report (2006)
  • Bruises-Core Information from the NSPCC
  • Refuge Organisation
  • Respect - Charity providing resources for working with perpetrators of domestic abuse which will be of use to social workers and others undertaking work with this group
  • The Freedom Programme - a 12 week programme providing information about domestic violence to men and women



Updates to National documents

Working Together to Safeguard Children updated July 2018 - click here for updated version

Information Sharing - Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers updated July 2018 - updated version here