Domestic abuse is physical, psychological, emotional, sexual or financial abuse that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence of abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

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 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.”*

*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.’ (Home Office 2013).

Domestic abuse can affect approximately one in four women and one in six men in their lifetimes.
31% of women and 18% of men have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 years.
It accounts for between 16% and one quarter of all recorded violent crime.
Women are statistically more likely than men to be the victim of multiple incidents of abuse, of different types of domestic abuse (partner abuse, family abuse, sexual assault and stalking).