Next review date: TBC

Domestic violence and abuse is a complex issue that needs sensitive handling by a range of health and social care professionals. The cost, in both human and economic terms, is so significant that even marginally effective interventions are cost effective.

Women and men can experience this type of violence in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

The recommendations cover the broad spectrum of domestic violence and abuse, including violence perpetrated on men, on those in same-sex relationships and on young people.

Working in a multi-agency partnership is the most effective way to approach the issue at both an operational and strategic level. Initial and ongoing training and organisational support is also needed.

The guidance is for health and social care commissioners, specialist domestic violence and abuse staff and others whose work may bring them into contact with people who experience or perpetrate domestic violence and abuse. In addition it may be of interest to members of the public.

This guideline was previously called domestic violence and abuse: how health services, social care and the organisations they work with can respond effectively.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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