Information for professionals

This guidance is for professionals in North Somerset. If you are working in another area see the Women’s Aid directory to search for support local to you.

Please note:

If the person you are supporting is in immediate danger you should enable them to contact the police or, if necessary, do this yourself.

If a child or vulnerable adult is involved you must follow your agency’s safeguarding procedures. If you are not sure about these, talk to your manager or contact Care Connect on 01275 888 801 for advice. 

If the person is not in immediate danger and there is not a safeguarding concern, then please think about how best you can support them. You could start with considering the following actions:

  1. assessing risk
  2. consider specialist support
  3. help them with safety planning,
  4. tell them about support in the community
  5. give them information to take away

Information to help is set out below. For advice call the DAFFS line on 0800 694 9999 (9am to 5pm weekdays)

1. Assess the risk

Complete the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment (DASH) risk assessment checklist

Fill this in with as much detail as possible; the form includes guidance to help.

Wherever possible, if you are working with a client, please provide support as part of your role particularly if you already have a relationship with them. Gemini Services provide specialist domestic abuse support in North Somerset and can provide advice to help you via the DAFFS line on 0800 694 9999 (9-5 Mon to Saturdays).


2. Consider a referral to specialist support

The service provided by Gemini is based upon the risk level, with high risk cases being supported by IDVAs and MARAC and low/medium risk cases being supported by floating support workers.  See below for guidance on how to make a referral.


High risk situations:

A situation is classed as high risk if any of the following apply:

  • There are 14 or over ticks on the DASH form,
  • The situation is escalating,
  • the case was referred to MARAC within the last year
  • You think it is high risk based upon your professional judgment

In these cases, you should make a referral to the IDVA service and the MARAC (see below)

Where possible, you should get the client’s consent but, due to the risk involved, this is not compulsory. If the client withholds consent, or it is not safe to tell them about the referral, please complete the referral without consent form.


Making an IDVA and MARAC referral:

To make a referral to these services, complete the forms below with as much detail as possible:

Then send these forms securely to both the IDVA service and your MARAC representative:

  1. email the IDVA service at (if you have secure email) or (if you use Egress)
  2. contact your agency’s MARAC representative. If you do not have a representative or are unsure, contact or call Gemini Services on the DAFFS line 0800 694 9999 for advice (if you are a MARAC rep, once you have checked it, please send the referral, DASH and referral without consent form, if appropriate, securely to

Low and medium risk situations:

If the case does not meet the above high-risk criteria it is classified as low or medium risk. If the client would like specialist support, you can make a referral to Gemini Services using the Gemini Referral Intake form.

This form should be sent via secure email to (if you have secure email) or (if you use Egress).


3. Safety Plan

Help the person you are supporting to plan for any future abuse and enable them to think about how they can reduce the risk they may face. Fill in a safety plan with the client and give them a copy if it is safe to do so.


4. Tell the client about drop-ins and pattern changing courses

Gemini Services facilitate pattern changing courses (Key to Change and My Kids and Me) as well as peer support groups where those affected by domestic abuse can receive support, make sense of their experience and talk to others who are, or have been, in a similar situation. My Kids and Me helps mothers rebuild their relationship with their children.

All courses and groups are informal and friendly and feedback from participants is excellent! Give a flyer about drop ins to the client or call the DAFFs line for further information on 0800 694 999. Referrals to the courses can be made by a professional on behalf of a client.


5. If the person is not ready to access support, give them information to get further help when they are ready

  • The DAFFS or Domestic Abuse Helpline is answered between 9am and 6pm on weekdays by Gemini Services 0800 694 9999.
  • The National 24 hour helpline (0808 2000 247) is run by Women’s Aid and Refuge and offers round the clock support.
  • The Women’s Aid website features advice and a survivors’ forum
  • A group of local survivors of domestic abuse have produced a Survivors’ Handbook – contact for a copy
  • There is a leaflet with useful information

For further advice/information on domestic abuse contact: or 01934 426343

There are DASH risk assessment forms in different languages and further information on risk assessment at