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Tools for professionals

This page contains links to further information on a range of topics designed to help professionals when supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Assessing risk

Guidance on the risk assessment process (DASH) with links to further information.

Safety planning

Here are some top tips for victims and professionals when it comes to safety planning.


More information coming soon

Housing advice

Information on housing options for those fleeing domestic abuse.

Clare’s Law

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme allows people to share potential concerns of abuse with the police for investigation.

Refuge services

Information and guidance on accessing refuges and what to expect.

Further resources and tools

Risk assessment tools

Risk assessment for children and young people


Target hardening

A Sanctuary Scheme involves a process known as target hardening and aims to reduce homelessness by enabling victims (where safe and appropriate) to stay in their own homes. Many victims do not want to leave their homes or the area where they live, as their support networks are there and their children are settled. The scheme aims to improve security by replacing locks, installing window locks and alarms and putting in measures to reduce the risk of fires.

There is national guidance for Local Authorities on what they should include in a target hardening policy: Practice Guide for Agencies Developing and Delivering Sanctuary Schemes

The scheme works slightly differently in each area and may involve resources from district councils. This service is not restricted to those in rented or local authority housing but can also be accessed if the victim owns their own home.

To access the service, please contact your local Domestic Abuse helpline or council.

Help for perpetrators

There are two types of domestic violence perpetrator programmes in the UK — criminal justice programmes and voluntary community-based programmes.

Criminal justice-based programmes are usually run by probation or prison staff, and only take referrals from the criminal courts as part of a sentence for a conviction for a violent or abusive incident.

Voluntary community-based programmes are usually run by a voluntary sector organisation or part of a voluntary/statutory sector partnership and can take self-referrals as well as referrals from Children’s Services, the family courts and a range of other services. In order to make sure that the programme is run as safely as possible and with the maximum possible chance of supporting change, a risk assessment and management plan will be undertaken.

Both types of programmes will also have links to safety and/or support services for partners and ex-partners of programme participants.

Anger management programmes, educational programmes for men, awareness-raising short courses and couples counselling services are NOT domestic violence perpetrator programmes as they do not include the full range of services necessary to provide a safe and meaningful opportunity for domestic violence perpetrators to stop being violent. For anger management programmes this is primarily because they are about managing anger, not stopping violence and promoting safety. They do not have contact with partners/ex-partners and is therefore not recognised as being a safe service for perpetrators. Anger management can significantly increase the risk for victims.

Couples counselling alone, whilst it can and often does form a useful addition after successful behaviour change in a perpetrator programme, does not constitute a perpetrator programme, primarily because couples counselling will not be safe and effective for victims to participate in freely, a requirement for couples counselling to be meaningful.

Further information

We need your help to continue our work reducing the risk of domestic abuse. Find out more about how you can get involved!