Domestic abuse

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a crime and affects the quality of life of the victims, their family and their friends, and can also affect a person’s home. This page explains how you can get help and support if you are experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse.

Our Tenancy Agreement says the following:

  • You must not threaten violence or be violent towards anyone living with you in the property or harass or use mental, emotional, physical or sexual abuse to make anyone who lives with you leave the property.

    Questions and Answers

    Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

    • Psychological: Making you feel devalued and afraid, if you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) threatening to ‘out’ you to your family.
    • Physical: Kicking, punching and restraining 
    • Sexual – Rape, making you do things you don’t want to do, preventing you from practicing safe sex.   
    • Financial – Taking your money and/or controlling your money.  
    • Emotional – Making you feel unhappy 

    It also includes controlling behaviour – such as isolating you from family and friends and coercive control which includes a pattern of behaviour to frighten or humiliate you.

    Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of gender or sexuality.  At Gentoo we understand that it can be very difficult to take the first step to get help. If you prefer we can offer you the opportunity to speak to someone of the same gender or sexuality.

    We can support you to get help and make sure you are not in any danger. Our Support Coordinators can give you advice and support and work with other organisations to make sure you get all the support you need.

    We are committed to acting quickly, effectively and sympathetically to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse.

    We will:

    • Keep to all of our responsibilities to you as a customer
    • Offer you support and advice from our victim support officers
    • Give you emotional support and practical help and advice
    • Be sensitive and understanding when we discuss your housing options;
    • Work with government, voluntary and other organisations to give you support when you need it
    • React quickly and effectively to make sure you are safe
    • Pursue relevant action against those who are responsible for domestic abuse using the conditions of our Tenancy Agreements, if you agree

    Our Support Coordinators can give you emotional support and practical help and advice with your tenancy and other issues.

    The website also gives you the opportunity to speak to a member of Gentoo staff online and instructions on how to clear your online search history.

    For more information give your local office a call or pop in.  You can also make a homeless application and get more advice from Sunderland City Council by phoning 0800 731 2963.

    We also have specialist staff who offer support to perpetrators (the person responsible). If you are using abusive behaviour against a partner and are looking to change your behaviour, you can speak to one of our Neighbourhood Support Coordinators about accessing the Big Project. If you would like to attend this programme you must be over 18 and recognise that your behaviour has been abusive.

    If you are experiencing domestic abuse and you want to stay in your current home, our Support Coordinators can give you support and advice on what you need to do. We can also talk to you about keeping you safe in your home.

    If you need to be rehoused away from the person who is abusing you, we can give you housing advice or discuss alternative safe accommodation or we can seek to find a Women’s Refuge place or safe accommodation for you. If you cannot get into your home or you are afraid to stay there, we can help you. You can contact any of our local offices and our staff will be able to listen to you and give you advice and support.  The Police may be able to go with you if you want to get personal belongings from your home.

    Our staff do not wear Gentoo uniforms or badges so your neighbours would not be aware they were from Gentoo.

    We will never inform the person responsible that we have spoken to you. As your safety is our main concern we will also not take any action against this person without consulting you first.

    There are many organisations who can provide support to people experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse. Listed below are useful phone numbers of organisations who can help you, or help someone you know.

    Wearside Women in Need (WWIN) 24/7 helpline:       

    0800 066 5555

    Women's Aid

    0808 2000 247

    Mankind (Male victims of Domestic Abuse)                  

    01823 334244

    Galop (LGBT)                                                   

    0800 999 5428


    0808 2000 247

    RESPECT (Perpetrators)                                                  

    0808 802 4040

    Forced Marriage Unit

    020 7008 0151

    Karma Nirvana

    0800 5999 247

    In an emergency always call the Police on 999 or 101 at any other time. 

    Reporting domestic abuse

    Cover your tracks online

    If you’re worried that someone may see what you have been looking at online there’s a few things you can do to minimise the chances of them finding out like deleleting your browser history.

    Click on the links below for whichever browser you use for instructions on how to do it.

    Internet Explorer 

    Mozilla Firefox

    Google Chrome



    Andriod device

    Safari iPhone/iPad

    Google app iPhone/iPad/Android/Computer

    Please remember that although clearing your history minimises the chances of someone knowing what websites you have visited there is other means of finding this out if you have the knowhow.

    The safest way to access sites if you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, is to use a computer at a local library, an internet cafe, a friend's house or at work. 

    Click here to hide this page