How do we define it?
Domestic abuse is defined as abusive behaviour between two people who are personally connected to each other. The abusive behaviour can take the form of physical or sexual abuse; violent or threatening behaviour; controlling or coercive behaviour; economic abuse; psychological, emotional or other abuse. This could be a single incident or repeated occurrence.
We welcome the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 which is now law in England and Wales. This Act aims to offer further protection to people experiencing domestic abuse and importantly recognises children as victims of domestic abuse if they hear, see, or experience the impact of domestic abuse.
Definition taken from the Domestic Abuse Act 2021:
Behaviour of a person (‘A’) towards another person (‘B’) is ‘domestic abuse’ if…
- A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and
- the behaviour is abusive
Behaviour is ‘abusive’ if it consists of any of the following…
- physical or sexual abuse;
- violent or threatening behaviour;
- controlling or coercive behaviour;
- economic abuse;
- psychological, emotional or other abuse;
… and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.
It’s important to remember that domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, or culture.
Physical abuse – causing any type of physical harm e.g. punching, slapping, pushing.
Sexual abuse – being pressurised into sex or anything of a sexual nature that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Violent or threatening behaviour – any behaviour that causes fear of injury or harm e.g. yelling, intimidation, sending threatening texts, emails or voicemails.
Controlling or coercive behaviour – e.g. monitoring what you do/where you go/who you speak to, keeping you isolated from family or friends, using threats and intimidation to stop you doing things. More info is available here.
Economic abuse – e.g. being kept from accessing your own money, taking money off you, having your bank card/PIN numbers, having to justify your spending.
Psychological, emotional or other abuse – this could include verbal abuse, criticising you, playing mind games, gaslighting, making you doubt your own thoughts and feelings.
It’s important to keep in mind that domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, or culture.