Is it safe to talk? What to consider before asking about domestic abuse

  • Think about your safety before asking any questions
  • Have you got the time to listen to the answer?
  • Does your service user have the capacity to understand what you are asking (consider learning difficulties, mental capacity, language barriers, substance misuse)
  • Are you in a safe place where confidentiality and privacy can be maintained?
  • Who else is in the room? Do not ask about domestic abuse unless the individual is alone – this includes children.


  • When speaking with a suspected victim about domestic abuse, please be aware of the factors which may increase their risk. See section on risk factors
  • Concerns about risk should be responded to swiftly and opportunities pursued to record and respond to concerns
  • Practitioners should not to be afraid to listen to and trust their professional judgement or "gut instinct". Specialist domestic abuse services can offer guidance and direction where needed.
  • Where there is information which suggests immediate risk of harm, multi-agency procedures should always be followed