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What happens next?

When you report an incident of domestic abuse, an officer will visit you either at your home or somewhere you feel safe.

Our first priority is to make sure you and any children who may be present are safe.

Gathering information

The officer will talk to you about what has happened. Some of the questions may seem personal but your answers will really help us to understand the situation and help to develop a plan with you to keep you safe.

This information will help the officer assess the risk posed to you by the abuser and offer you the appropriate support and protection.

We have a responsibility to make sure any children are kept safe and will share information with Social Services so they can work to protect you and your family. You should not worry that your children will be taken away from you.

The officer may also take a statement and will talk you through this step-by-step.

With your permission we may also gather other evidence such as medical records and take photographs of any injuries you have.

Your welfare

We can arrange for you to see a doctor if you are hurt and take you and your children to a safe place such as a friend’s house or refuge.

The officer who visits you will complete a form based on the information they have collected and pass this onto one of our domestic abuse units.

We have a team of specially- trained officers who work at these units called Domestic Abuse Liaison Officers. Their role is to offer immediate and long-term support to those most at risk.

They can also put you in contact with local support organisations. For more specific information about how our liaison officers can help, visit our how we can help page.

If someone is arrested

Our officers take domestic abuse seriously. Although getting justice is important to them, officers consider each case and the wishes of people involved individually.

If someone is arrested they’ll be taken to a police station.

If they’re charged with a crime, they may be remanded into custody to appear before the next available court or released on bail while we complete our investigation. We may be able to attach bail conditions to protect you from further abuse and intimidation. We may also use Domestic Abuse Protection Orders or Notices, which are civil orders that give the victim short term protection from their abuser, enabling you to focus on making plans and sorting out necessary things like childcare or somewhere to live.

If the abuser pleads guilty you won’t have to go to court but you may be asked to give a victim impact statement describing the effect the abuse has had on you. The court will take this into account when passing sentence.

If the abuser pleads not guilty you may be required to go to court to give evidence. We understand this is difficult but arrangements can sometimes be made for you to do this behind a screen or via video link so you don’t have to enter the court room.

An officer will contact you to make sure you receive support, guidance and advice and are kept up-to-date with the progress of your case at every step.

In some cases it may not be possible to take an abuser to court, even if you support it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help.

With your consent, our officers can put you in touch with other agencies and support groups who understand your needs. You’ll find a list of some of these organisations on the Help in Essex and Help across the UK pages.

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