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How can the police help me?

The police can take action to protect you and your children. They may do this by arresting your partner, if they have the power to do so, and holding him or her for a short time (for example, overnight).

How can the police help me?

After arresting your partner, the police will then normally investigate what happened, to see whether a crime has been committed. The police will need your help with their investigation. However, it is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - not you - that decides whether your partner should be taken to court.

You should not be put under pressure to make a complaint about your partner if you decide that you don't want to. But if you drop a complaint, the police will still want to make sure that you will be safe, and may talk to you about your decision. The CPS can go ahead and prosecute your partner anyway if it has enough evidence.

If the CPS does prosecute your partner, he or she could be fined or given another type of sentence. Or they could be 'bound over to keep the peace' (told they must behave, or they will be brought back to court). In cases of serious or repeated violence, they could be sent to prison.

Action by the police may stop your partner behaving badly towards you again. If your partner is on bail, the police or the court can impose conditions stopping them coming near your home or your workplace, or stopping them contacting you or the children. They can also impose other conditions if they think these would protect you.

If your children were also abused or were present when you were being abused, the police may contact social services, depending on how serious the abuse was or how often it happened.

If your partner is prosecuted for assault in the criminal court, the judge won't sort out who has the right to live in your home, or impose an order saying how your partner must behave or restricting where they can go. To arrange this, you need to go to the civil court and get an injunction. See What legal action can I take to keep me and my children safe?

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What if I call the police because my partner is hurting or threatening me?

The police should take action straight away to protect you and any children. They may arrest your partner if they believe he or she has committed a crime, such as assault. If they arrest your partner and release them on police bail, they can impose conditions to protect you and stop them doing it again. This may include stopping them:

  • returning to the home for the time being, or
  • contacting you or your children.

The police may follow up an emergency visit and investigate what has happened. You may be visited by a community safety officer, who will be able to tell you where you can get help and what the police plan to do about the situation.

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What if I want to contact the police after my partner has hurt or threatened me?

Call your local police station (you will find the number in the phone book under 'Police'). You should ask to speak to your local community safety officer. They will normally talk to you on the phone and may arrange to meet you to investigate your complaint and help you decide what you want to do.

The community safety officer will be able to advise you about your options. If you decide to stay in your home, the officer can tell you how to keep yourself safe and how to call for help if you need it. Some police forces have special emergency buttons and mobile phones they can give you so that you can call for help quickly if you need it.

If you feel that you want to report your partner's behaviour and make a formal complaint against them, then the officer will take the details from you.

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What if someone else tells the police that they think my partner is abusing me or my children?

The police will follow this up and contact you to find out what has happened. The community safety officer will probably phone you, arrange to see you to investigate the complaint, and help you decide what you want to do.

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What you can do now:

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