What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is a crime.

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
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, physical, sexual, financial, emotional

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

Family members
Family members- mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents whether directly related, in laws or step-family

Domestic abuse...

  • Is a crime in which the domestic abuser seeks power over their victim. It is not normally a one-off incident, but a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour.
  • Affects women, men and children.
  • Is experienced by one in four women and one in six men during their lifetime.
  • Is mainly abuse by men against women, according to police figures.
  • Can happen regardless of the gender, sexuality, disability, age, race, social group, wealth, class or lifestyle of the people involved.

Examples of domestic abuse

  • Forced marriage.
  • Violence, including ‘honour-based’ violence.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Threats to you, your family, your pets or your possessions.
  • Being forced to do things (being pressured).
  • Being frightened to say 'no'.
  • Being frightened to say what you think.
  • Feeling that you are 'walking on eggshells' all the time.
  • Being watched and checked up on.
  • Having your freedom unreasonably restricted.
  • Being stopped from seeing your family and friends.
  • Being made to feel small.
  • Being made to feel too tired, too depressed, and too frightened to fight back or leave.
  • Destructive criticism.
  • Disrespect and breaking trust.
  • Isolation.
  • Harassment.

Further information

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