Where to go for help in Colchester

Domestic Abuse, Protect

Next Chapter

Next Chapter work with survivors of domestic abuse to help them make choices to reclaim their lives and begin their next chapter.

How we can help – we offer a range of different services to support people affected by domestic abuse and help the on their journey to create lasting change.

Refuge Accommodation – our crisis accommodation is available to women and their children who are fleeing domestic abuse. Alongside the safe place to stay, we offer a wide range of emotional and practical support as well as the opportunity to access our specialist recovery refuge for substance misuse. We aim to give women the space, time and opportunity to recover from their experiences and to build resilience and self confidence for a future life without domestic abuse.

In the community – we deliver emotional and practical support to people in the community experiencing domestic abuse or violence and who feel unable to leave their situation and/or wish to remain in their own home. We provide specialist support to former refuge residents to help them rebuild their lives.

Training and Awareness Raising – we provide training to organisations to help them develop the skills to spot the signs of domestic abuse and the confidence to approach the issue so that more people have access to the support they need sooner.

Colchester Borough Council Housing Advice

If you or someone you know is homeless or threatened with being homeless due to actual violence or the threat of violence, Colchester Borough Council may be under a legal obligation to help.

Enquiries will be made into your claim in a discreet manner, but it is essential that the Council be provided with all the information they need to be able to help you (it is useful to take documents such as birth certificates, child benefit books, income support documents, passports, national insurance numbers, marriage/divorce certificates and driving licence).

Sympathetic staff are available to give advice on the options that may be available; help may still be available whether you are a private or Council tenant, an owner-occupier, whether you want to stay in your own home or transfer to another area. You may be married, single or cohabiting and you may be experiencing violence or threats from a partner, ex-partner or family member.

Housing staff can supply you with certain advice, but it may be appropriate to seek specialist advice from a solicitor, or obtain free advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. In some cases, the Council may be able to take action to protect tenants who are being abused, threatened or harassed.

Homeless  phone: 01206 282556

Housing Benefit Advice phone: 01206 282300

Emergency Out of Hours phone: 01206 548444


Colchester Night Shelter

Colchester Night Shelter is a direct access provision, which offers up to 28 nights to homeless people including those who might need emergency help following domestic abuse. Washing and laundry facilities, telephones and e-mail access, as well as meals are provided. Help with re-settlement and support with emotional needs is also available.

Phone: 01206 549885


Victim Support

Victim Support is the independent, national charity, which helps people cope with crime. Trained volunteers contact people after a crime to offer free, confidential support and information. The Police and other organisations refer people to Victim Support, or victims just contact them directly to ask for help.

They can offer someone to talk to in confidence, support for anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, information on Police and court procedures, liaison with other organisations on behalf of victims, information on compensation and insurance matters, contact with other sources of help, volunteers to accompany victims to the Police Station and to Court and support for witnesses attending Magistrate and Crown Courts.

Local Victim Care Team
Phone: 0300 303 0165
Lines open Monday to Friday 10.30am -6.30pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm

Out of Hours Support Line
Phone: 08 08 16 89 111


Centre For Rape and Abuse (CARA)

Colchester CARA is a confidential support service run by women for women and young people who have been raped, sexually abused or assaulted. Where appropriate, and when available, they offer face-to-face counselling and out-of-hours telephone counselling. They also offer an advocacy service and accompany women to the police, to court, to the GUM clinic, or to other services, when requested.

Phone: 01206 769795


Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB listen, won’t tell you what to do, but give you the information you need to make up your own mind. They give advice and information about all subjects, including such issues as housing, family law, child support agency and benefits. They also offer some specialist services. They will tell NO-ONE you have contacted them unless you say it is okay to do so. All services are free, impartial, independent and confidential.

Phone: 03444 77 08 08


Essex Police Domestic Abuse & Safeguarding Team


However, Domestic Abuse Units are specialist units set up to provide advice, discuss what has happened to you and are available to talk to you in confidence.

The Domestic Abuse Safeguarding Officers will deal with all reported incidents sensitively and professionally. Those responsible for domestic abuse will, where appropriate, be arrested, and officers will take positive action to protect victims from further abuse.

The Officers work closely with other local agencies such as Women’s Aid, Victim Support and Colchester Council Housing, to ensure victims get the support needed. Incidents of domestic violence can be reported by victims themselves or by someone on their behalf. The first priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the victim and any children involved. Victims are spoken to separately from the person responsible for the abuse; firm and positive action will be taken against the abuser and, if necessary, a safe place to stay can be arranged for the victim and any children.


101 (non emergency number)

0800 358 0351 – direct number for Domestic Abuse Team


Womens Aid

Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children.

Contact the Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline – run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge.

Phone: 0808 2000 247  


Safer Places

Safer Places is an independent charity which provides a comprehensive range of services to adults and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse who live in west Essex, mid Essex, north and east Hertfordshire and Southend.

Phone: 03301 025811


You will need to be referred to gain access to the following services:


You will need to be referred to gain access to this service

The purpose of a Sanctuary Scheme is to provide a victim centred initiative which aims to make it possible for victims of domestic abuse to remain safer in their home, should they wish to do so.

The scheme enhances a person’s property with physical security measures which helps them to feel safe; for a full installation, the main feature being the creation of a “sanctuary room” which has an internal door replaced with a solid core door and reversing to open outwards, acting as an additional barrier. Additional security can also be provided as necessary as well as a mobile phone in some cases (dedicated to emergency calls only).

The Colchester Sanctuary Scheme may be an option for any high risk, repeat victim of domestic abuse living in Colchester Borough, who wish to remain in their own home, and is not limited to Council or Housing Association tenants; it includes any person who is threatened with homelessness due to domestic abuse. The Sanctuary Scheme is a long term solution to improving the victim’s quality of life; therefore every Sanctuary Scheme installation is tailored to accommodate the needs and circumstances of the individuals involved.

Phone: 01206 282978


You will need to be referred to gain access to this service

IDVAs are trained specialists who provide a service to victims who are at high risk of harm from intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, with the aim of securing their safety and the safety of their children.

Serving as a victim’s primary point of contact, IDVAs normally work with their clients from the point of crisis, to assess the level of risk, discuss the range of suitable options and develop safety plans. IDVAs will represent their clients at the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and help implement safety plans which will include actions from the MARAC as well as sanctions and remedies available through the criminal and civil courts, housing options and services available through other organisations.

In Essex the IDVAs work with high risk victims that are going through the criminal justice system and referrals are received from the police.

Phone: 01277 357559


You will need to be referred to gain access to this service

MARAC is a victim focused process in which the needs of the victims in domestic abuse cases and the risks posed by the perpetrator are considered in a multi-agency forum and a joint safety plan is constructed around the individual.

The purpose of MARAC is to share relevant information to increase the safety, health and well being of victims – adults and their children; determine whether the perpetrator poses a significant risk to any particular individual or to the general community; construct jointly and implement a risk management plan that provides professional support to all those at risk and that reduces the risk of harm; reduce repeat victimisation; improve agency accountability; and improve support for staff involved in high risk domestic abuse cases. The aim is to protect the highest risk victims and their children. DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking, harassment and Honour based violence) 2009 risk assessment model provides a national, accredited risk assessment process which can be used by any agency. The purpose is to give a consistent and practical tool to practitioners working with victims of domestic abuse to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm and whose cases should be referred to a MARAC meeting, in order to manage the risk.

MARAC updates and enquiries phone: 01245 452921