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What is domestic abuse?

What is domestic abuse?

Any incident or pattern of incidents 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 sexuality.


This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • ​Psychological / Emotional

  • Physical 

  • Sexual

  • Financial

  • Harassment / Stalking

  • Online / Digital abuse

Controlling behaviour -  a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.


Coercive behaviour - is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation, degredation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim

*This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.*

Does domestic violence only happen in certain cultures or classes?

Research shows that domestic violence is most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Any woman can experience domestic violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle.


Domestic violence can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships, and can involve other family members, including children.

How common is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is very common. 1 in 4 women will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. 

It is shocking that one in ten of all offences recorded by the police is domestic abuse-related, according to police recorded crime collected by the Home Office. While nearly one third of all violence crimes against a person are recorded as domestic abuse-related.


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