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Domestic Abuse, and Sexual Violence and Abuse

Population Outcome: People experiencing domestic violence and abuse in Suffolk and North East Essex have Health Equality

Domestic abuse can be experienced by anyone at any age, of any gender or sexuality, among all classes and in any part of the world. There are complex barriers to seeking help, including for those living in poverty who cannot afford the costs of leaving a relationship, those who are disabled and dependent on their abuser, those in rural areas who are isolated from community support, those with insecure immigration status who fear detention if they seek help, and those who fear reprisals from their family or community if they disclose their abuse. Victims of abuse may not be able to access health and care safely: they may be unable to leave their home to attend a medical appointment or treatment so safe ways to access and receive health and care must be found; perpetrators may not allow victims to see health and care professionals unaccompanied; and victims may have difficulty seeking and receiving information or follow-up care.


1 in 5 adults experience Domestic Abuse during their lifetime

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The Story Behind the Outcome

Lived Experience


Refuge - Hollie's Story


Healthwatch Essex Trauma Ambassador - Lauren's story

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Published Evidence

Health and wellbeing impacts of domestic abuse on adult victims

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Health and wellbeing impacts of domestic abuse on child victims

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Wider Data

Further Reading

Further Information

Useful Organisations

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Our Ambition

What we know matters to people and why

What matters?Why?
I am able to obtain the information I need to stay safe and well.Advice on self-management of physical and mental health problems helps victims who are prevented from accessing healthcare to stay as well as possible. Sources of information on where to seek refuge or domestic abuse support enables victims and their children to be safe, including in a crisis. Knowing the financial entitlements and practical impacts of leaving the family home, or ending their relationship with their perpetrator, helps victims and survivors to make informed decisions for their and their family’s future.
I have equity of access to health and care servicesVictims in a relationship with their abuser who are prevented from accessing healthcare services need support to access care in ways that do not put them at further risk of harm.
I have high quality careTrauma informed support recognises the short and long term physical and emotional impacts of abuse on victims, survivors and their families, and enables delivery of person-centred, sensitive, high quality care. Adequate privacy in health and care appointments enables victims and survivors to discuss their health openly, obtain the right services to meet their needs, and disclose their abuse in order to secure specialist support. Supporting access to safe housing, education and employment opportunities helps victims and survivors and their families to rebuild their lives and stay well.
I am seen and heardProviding personalised, trauma-informed support to those victims and survivors who are most vulnerable, including those with disabilities or no recourse to public funds, enables their individual needs to be recognised and for them and their family to be safeguarded where necessary, and to stay well.

How will things be different in Suffolk and North East Essex

We will ensure health and care staff are trained to be aware of the signs of domestic abuse, know how to provide safe spaces for victims and survivors to disclose, can signpost them to specialist support, and provide sensitive care and support including safeguarding where necessary.We will co-produce with victims and survivors of domestic abuse ways to access health and welfare information and resources that do not place them at risk of further harm.
We will co-design services that involve intimate procedures, such as cervical screening, which can be in ways that minimise the risks of re-traumatising victims and survivors of abuse.We will collaborate with housing, education and training partners, and employers, to safeguard adults at risk and children who are experiencing abuse, and to support victims and survivors to live in safety and to rebuild their lives.
We will recognise the lifelong impacts of abuse on victims, survivors and their families, and take a trauma-informed approach to those with adverse childhood or adult experiences.

Case Studies – how we are making progress across Suffolk & North East Essex

Relevant plans and strategies


NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board
Joint Forward Plan


Ipswich and East Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

North East Essex 
Alliance Delivery Plan

West  Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

Page last updated: March 2023

Last Updated on 11 June 2024

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