It is important to remember that anyone can experience domestic abuse or sexual violence, regardless of their age, background, ethnicity, sexual orientation or how they identify.  Under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, children under the age of 16 are considered victims if they have witnessed or been present during an incident of domestic abuse.  The Definition sets this out.  

Someone experiencing abuse may talk to you and this might be in confidence. Talking in confidence can be very important and you can encourage someone to seek support from a professional organisation like the police or Torbay Domestic Abuse Service (TDAS). It is advisable though to be very honest with someone from the start of any conversations that if you believe they (or their children) are at risk of serious harm that you will have to share your concerns with other professionals and the proper authorities and you will do this to help keep them safe. People can feel very angry or upset if they feel someone has broken their trust so explaining this at the very beginning of any conversations can help prevent that.

If you are concerned that someone is at risk of harm, especially if children or young people are involved you will need to follow your own organisation’s policy and procedures. That might include informing a line manager and submitting a report about the situation. You might also have specific safeguarding processes to follow. If you’re unsure what to do, always ask your line manager. If you are concerned about the immediate safety of someone always contact the police on emergency telephone 999. If children or young people are involved you can also contact Torbay Safeguarding Hub. 

If you are concerned about an adult, the Torbay Safeguarding Adults Board website has guidance and information on the kinds of abuse adults and older people may experience.  There is also contact information for advice and how to report a concern. 

Victims can refer themselves into services, but sometimes might need support to do that, particularly older people who may be cared for by the person causing them harm.  Depending on who you work for and what you do, it may be appropriate for you to make a referral for someone. 

More information on services for children and young people, including the interactive threshold tool, can be found on the Torbay Safeguarding Children Board website. 

The incidences of child to parent violence and abuse are on the increase.  Integrated Youth Support Services can offer advice and support to families experiencing this, whether on a voluntary basis or whether linked to the youth justice system.  

The Standing Tall partnership in Torbay is made up of organisations who provide support to the wider community, but their services are DASV informed and they formed as a partnership to offer practical help specifically to anyone who has experienced DA or SV.  As a professional you can refer someone into the partnership by completing this form ** (no personal information is saved on the Are You OK website).  Individuals can refer themselves by contacting the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022.  **This form may not work if you use internet explorer or Microsoft Edge in which case please contact the Community Helpline.

Domestic abuse

To make a referral into Torbay Domestic Abuse Service (TDAS) contact them via the Directory.  

TDAS do support men who have experienced domestic abuse, but a national support organisation just for men is ManKind who have a confidential helpline. 

Specialist LGBT+ support is available from Intercom Trust.  

If you’re working with a young person you can make a referral into the Young Person’s Violence Advisor.

If you’re a professional working in the health or education services, or local government you can make a victim referral into Torbay’s Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). The MARAC is a group of professionals from a range of agencies who plan what action should be taken to protect a victim. Your organisation will have a process of how to do that and it may include involving your designated Safeguarding Lead.

Sexual violence

If you're working with someone who is, or has experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives there is support available.

Make a referral to Devon Rape Crisis Service. The service provides support for individuals aged 13 and over who have current or historic experience of sexual abuse, violence or harassment.

Intercom Trust offers advice and support to anyone from the LGBT+ community.  

For someone who has experienced sexual violence or assault in the last 2 weeks (read the guidance around timeframes), you can make a referral to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) The services provided by the SARC are offered to men, women and children of any age.  Their website has guidance for professionals on supporting someone who makes a disclosure to you and what they might expect when they go to a SARC.  Their children's service page has lots of information about what will happen when a child or young person is referred to the SARC to make them feel more comfortable about going.  Clinicians are specially trained in working with children and young people in a safe and supportive environment.  16/17 year olds can self-refer and make their own decisions about involving the police.  Their advice line is available 24/7 for information or to make an urgent referral - 0300 3034626.  As a professional, you can make a referral to the SARC here.

If you’re working with a young person you can make a referral into the Young Person’s Violence Advisor.

Reducing parental conflict

Evidence based programmes are being delivered by Home Start on either a one to one or group basis to parents and carers (together or separated). These programmes support communication. They are not for those at risk of Domestic Abuse. A smartphone is needed as a minimum. 

More information on the Happy Families, Happy Futures interventions can be found here or by contacting Jenny Lyons, telephone: 01305 228464 or

Following the COVID-19 pandemic some programmes continue to be run virtually and referrals can be made by telephone.