What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse is defined as 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 definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called 'honour-based violence’, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. It is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
Domestic Abuse can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
- coercive control
- stalking and harassment
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.
A coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or another abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.
Research shows that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their life. Domestic abuse is much more widespread than many people realise and anyone from any background can suffer. Sometimes it is a one-off incident of violence or abuse, but more often it is a pattern of persistent abusive behaviour.