Domestic abuse


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If you are currently experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse then you probably feel vulnerable and isolated. Here is some information to help you make an informed decision. It is important to try and think how you might get help if you need it. You are not alone, we work with many services to support those who are affected by domestic abuse.

Cover your tracks online

If you think that someone may check what you have been looking at later, see your browser's help facility to find out how to delete your internet browsing history. Also, if you are worried about someone knowing you have visited a website offering advice and support about domestic abuse, then Women's Aid offer this really practical page of advice to ensure you can cover your tracks online.

You are not alone

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales year ending March 2020, an estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 years (2.3 million) experienced domestic abuse in the last year. ... Of these, 758,941 were recorded as domestic abuse-related crimes, an increase of 9% from the previous year.

Two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales and in the year ending March 2019, 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse (Office for National Statistics 2019).  

1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men, 1 in 4 of the LGBT community and up to 80% of trans people will be affected by domestic abuse during their lifetimes (Mankind and Broken Rainbow 2019).

Important to know

  • If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if it is not safe to speak – use the  Silent Solution  system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted

  • Check your rights in our  Domestic Abuse Policy

  • Here are some Domestic Abuse Helplines  for general advice, as well as in a crisis when you may need a safe place


Sanctuary schemes

Many people, although they are under the threat of violence, do not wish to move home as they may live near to their children’s schools, friends, family and other support networks.

Sanctuary schemes aim to help victims of domestic violence and abuse to feel safe and secure where they choose to remain in their own homes, by improving the security with professionally installed security measures. It is not an immediate response but a long-term solution to prevent homelessness and improve a victim’s quality of life. 

OUR Sanctuary Scheme partner

We work with SAFE Partnership - a charity which provides a sanctuary scheme for domestic abuse victims. If you come to us for support around domestic abuse we will work with you and them as our partner, but it's fine if you are already with one of the other sanctuary schemes. We can work with any sanctuary scheme provider. or call 01929 551100.

The scheme varies within each local authority, so open the Devon Sanctuary scheme leaflet or Cornwall Sanctuary scheme leaflet to  see the local authority help available through the scheme. 

Women's Aid domestic abuse directory

Search for the nearest domestic abuse support services by region and local authority:

Make A Stand

Westward pledges to stand by the four actions of the Make a Stand pledge where housing providers commit to taking action to support people experiencing domestic abuse.Make a stand banner

Bright Sky is an app to help people in domestic abuse relationships

Users can log private journal entries with text, film and photos, which are sent to your designated email address. This is then evidence if you ever need it. The Bright Sky app finds help points nearby and offers users options to: ‘get help for myself’ including deciding if you are at risk; or ‘get help for someone else’ including advice. The app has a 999 button. Do remember any app carries the risk of an abuser finding it on your device. 

Personal safety app - Hollie Guard

This is a free app for personal safety: Hollie Guard tracks a person’s location from their smartphone and if they feel unsafe, they can tap or shake their phone to warn their pre-loaded contacts that they might be in danger. It means you can ensure you are safe whether you are travelling alone, going into a meeting alone or going out alone. It supports your safety and is for anyone, you don't need to have an existing concern, just take this proactive step to stay safe


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The Survivor’s Handbook

The Survivor’s Handbook from Women's Aid provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with simple guidance on every aspect of seeking support. It covers everything from working out if you think you may be in an abusive relationship to what you can do to protect your children.

Ask for ANI - Safe Spaces

Boots, Morrisons, Superdrug and Well pharmacies and TSB bank have joined the Safe Spaces scheme. This means that if someone uses the codeword 'ANI' (Action Needed Immediately) then as part of the scheme you can be given access to their consultation rooms which are made available as a quiet and confidential space to contact specialist domestic abuse services, call a friend or family member that they may have been isolated from, or simply to take 5 minutes to themselves to consider their options. 


Refuge4Pets provides a pet fostering service in Devon and Cornwall so that victims of domestic violence and abuse can escape to access safety and support before being reunited with their pets.

Refuge4Pets foster dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, rabbits and small furries such as hamsters for up to six months.  Pet foster carers are volunteers who are committed to caring for animals and are carefully recruited to make sure they offer the best possible temporary foster homes. All of the pets that are fostered receive the vet treatment that they need, food and bedding paid for by the charity.

Refuge4Pets take referrals from the local domestic and sexual violence and abuse services, refuges, the police, housing, social care, health and community mental health teams. Please ask about a referral or contact them directly via email or call 07497382457. Visit for more information.

It is not okay to hurt your partner, it is okay to ask for help

Are you concerned about your behaviour in relationships with women? 

Men who are worried about the impact of their abusive behaviour on their female partner or ex-partners but who find it difficult to get help to stop behaving this way should visit  Respect Phoneline UK who can help you to stop.

The cost of domestic abuse

If financial worries are stopping you taking action, please get in touch with us for advice and read more here.  

We care about our customers and want them to be happy in our homes.  It's also important that our services and properties aren't affected by domestic abuse. The estimated cost to the industry from domestic abuse related issues is £160 million pa. Studies show that 21% of housing associations' total repair costs can be related to domestic abuse; at Westward this equates to £362,391pa.

Victims move home more frequently, creating more empty homes for longer periods of time. Repairing and bringing up to a standard to re-let the properties costs an average of 6 times more than usual.

By identifying domestic abuse early interventions can be put in place, leading to an improved situation for victims and creating significant savings.

Report domestic abuse here

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  • In an emergency please call the police (999)
  • For advice contact one of these helplines
To report domestic abuse, or if you have any concerns or questions, please contact us by ringing 0300 100 1010 or completing the form below. If you contact Westward, we will be in touch with you within one working day - please give us a number we can safely contact you on and any times that are safe to contact you.

We offer advice and guidance including referrals to other agencies who can arrange emergency accommodation. To make sure you get the right support we may work with other agencies such as Refuge, Victim Support, Women's Aid, the police and local authorities. In high risk cases, we may make a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) referral. 

We may take legal action, which can result in the perpetrator losing their home, in order to protect you, our customers and the local community.

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