We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases, it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
Physical violence is only one aspect of domestic abuse and an abuser’s behaviour can vary, from being very brutal and degrading to small actions that leave you humiliated. Those living with domestic abuse are often left feeling isolated and exhausted. Domestic abuse also includes cultural issues such as honour-based violence
Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:
These behaviours through which a perpetrator exerts power or control over another person are regarded as coercive control:
Much of coercive control is also emotional abuse, which can also include a perpetrator:
This covers the perpetrator doing one or more of:
While people are stalked or harassed by strangers or acquaintances, the behaviour can be a form of domestic abuse too. Stalking is a pattern of unwanted, fixated or obsessive behaviour which is intrusive, and causes the fear of violence or serious alarm and distress to the victim. Following, watching or spying on someone, or forcing contact through social media, can be considered as stalking. Harassment relates to repeated attempts to impose unwanted contact or communication with someone, causing the victim distress or fear.
This includes slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, biting, kicking, burning, choking, holding down, use of weapons and throwing things at the victim.
This covers perpetrators touching the victim in a way they don’t want to be touched, making unwanted sexual demands, pressurising the victim to have sex, hurting them during sex and pressurising them to have unsafe sex. Also, as the Home Office bluntly states in its advice on the subject: “If your partner has sex with you when you don’t want to, this is rape.”
This is behaviour involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) which can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code, such as by perceived immoral behaviour.
This is a collective term for a range of illegal procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
Domestic abuse is the systematic pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control the victim.The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s/family member’s reaction is being abused. It can begin at any stage of the relationship. Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off. Incidents generally become more frequent and severe over time.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Whilst domestic abuse happens in all relationships (heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), statistics show the vast majority of domestic abuse incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women.
Domestic abuse is a crime. We all have a role to play in bringing domestic violence to an end.