Domestic Violence and Abuse is a crime, and is also a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported Domestic Violence incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room. This has a very bad effect on them.


The Ministry Of Defence has a zero tolerance policy regarding Domestic Violence and Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

The Government defines domestic violence and abuse as:


‘Any incident of controlling, coercive or 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 sexual orientation. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial  
  • emotional

Family members includes mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or stepfamily.


How does it affect children?

Children who witness, intervene in, or hear incidents of Domestic Abuse are affected in many ways. What can be guaranteed is that children do hear, see, and are aware of abuse in the family. Children will learn how to behave from the examples parents set for them. Domestic violence teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:

  • Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways.
  • Domestic violence may teach children to use violence.
  • Where there is domestic violence there is often child abuse.
  • Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence.
  • Alcohol misuse is very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families.
  • It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict.
  • They learn how to keep secrets.
  • They learn to mistrust those close to them and that children are responsible and to blame for violence, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children.

Effects upon children

Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects can include:
  • Feeling frightened.
  • Becoming withdrawn.
  • Bedwetting.
  • Running away.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Behavioural difficulties.
  • Problems with school.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Emotional turmoil.


The longer children are exposed to abuse, the more severe the effects on them are. These can include:
  • A lack of respect for the non-violent parent.
  • Loss of self-confidence, which will affect their ability to form relationships in the future.
  • Being over-protective of parent.
  • Loss of childhood.
  • Problems at school.
  • Running away.


Why don’t victims of Domestic abuse just leave?

Many people find it difficult to understand why people remain in or return to abusive, violent situations. A combination of fear, love, the risk of homelessness and financial issues can make it very difficult for partners with children to leave and some may not want to. 

What can I do?

  • Domestic Violence and Abuse is a crime. Never hesitate to call the Military Police who can help you. They can also put you in touch with other people who can help you with safety planning, housing issues, and drug or alcohol problems. They can also give you details of legal advisors who can assist you with the legal side of things.
  • If you are female and feel reluctant to speak to the police, we recommend you call Women's Aid which is an independent charity run by women to help other women. They can offer you practical and emotional support, or help you find emergency refuge accommodation in the United Kingdom if you are escaping abuse.


Emergency Numbers

In the case of an emergency the Military Police have the following dedicated emergency numbers, which will be answered 24 hours a day. Never hesitate to use them if you feel unsafe: they will always respond to your emergency call.


  • Paderborn – 79 2222 (From a civilian telephone: 05254 98 2222)
  • Gütersloh – 73 2222 (From a civilian telephone: 05241 84 2222)
  • BFG Crimeline: 0800 184 2222 (from anywhere in Germany)


Non-Emergency Numbers

For non-emergencies you can contact your local Military Police Station on the following numbers:


  • Paderborn:  79 - 2223 (From a civilian telephone: 05254 98 2223)
  • Gütersloh: 73 - 3454 / 3457 (From a civilian telephone: 05241 84  3454 / 3457)



Contacts and Useful Links

If you are worried about Domestic Violence or Abuse, and would like to discuss your worries with someone, or if you are violent and have children you can seek help to stop what is happening.



Army Welfare Service (AWS) - Office hours only:


AWS Westfalen

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Covers: Paderborn, Sennelager, Gütersloh, Bielefeld and EJSU

Tel: 05254 982 4340 (Paderborn / Sennelager)

Tel: 05241 84 3321 (Gütersloh / Bielefeld / EJSU)


OUT OF HOURS:  You can contact an Out of Hours Duty Welfare Officer through your Garrison Staff Duty Officer.

Other useful links and contacts

Helpline: 808 800 5000
Textphone: 0044 800 056 0566


Tel: 0044 808 800 2222


Tel: 0044 800 1111


National Domestic Violence Helpline - 24 hour free phone
Tel: 0044 808 2000 247


National Centre for Domestic Violence 


The Hideout


Women’s Aid