Domestic abuse information

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.

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 Next Link helpline on 0800 4700 280 (10am to 4pm weekdays).

Consider a referral to specialist support

The service provided by Next Link 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 a MARAC referral

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

Then send these forms securely to your MARAC representative. If you do not have a representative or are unsure, contact or the MARAC administrator

If you are a MARAC rep, once you have checked it, please send the referral, DASH and referral without consent form, if appropriate, securely via Egress to or via cjsm to

Making an IDVA referral

Next Link provide domestic abuse support in North Somerset, including IDVA support for high risk cases. To make a referral call them on 0800 4700 280 (between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday). Next Link will complete their own DASH but have yours to hand to inform the conversation.

Low and medium risk situations

If the case does not meet the above high-risk criteria it is classified as low or medium risk. Referrals to this support must be made with consent. If the client would like specialist support, you can make a referral to Next Link by calling them on 0800 4700 280, 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

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.

Tell the client about drop-ins and pattern changing courses

Next Link facilitate pattern changing courses and 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.

All courses and groups are informal and friendly and feedback from participants is excellent! Call Next Link for further information on 0800 4700 280. Referrals to the courses can be made by a professional on behalf of a client.

Provide information

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

  • the local Next Link Domestic Abuse Helpline is answered between 10am and 4pm on weekdays by Next Link 0800 4700 280
  • the National 24 hour helpline (0808 2000 247) 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
  • view our domestic abuse leaflet for more information