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    Q108: What is domestic abuse?

    Domestic violence is any behaviour towards another person, where both people are aged 16 or over, are personally connected to each other, and the behaviour is abusive.

    People who are personally connected includes: intimate partners, ex-partners, family members or individuals who share parental responsibility for a child. There is no requirement that the victim and abuser live together. Domestic abuse can occur in any relationship regardless of age, sex, class, race or disability.

    Domestic abuse is a wide range of different behaviours but common to all, is that the abuser seeks to have power and control over the victim. Types of behaviour deemed to be 'abusive' are:

    • physical or sexual abuse.
    • violent or threatening behaviour.
    • controlling or coercive behaviour.
    • economic abuse.
    • psychological, emotional or other abuse.

    Controlling or coercive behaviour is common in domestic abuse and can include controlling or monitoring the victim's daily activities; isolating them from family and friends; refusing to interpret or hindering access to communication; intentionally undermining the victim; using substances to control the victim; using children to control the victim, for example threatening to take children away; threats of institutionalisation; emotional and psychological abuse; economic abuse; and verbal abuse.

    Economic abuse can include denying the victim food or only allowing them to eat a particular type of food; running up bills and debts in the victim's name, interfering with a victim's education; not allowing a victim access to mobile phones, cars or utilities; and damaging property.

    Psychological, emotional or other abuse can include withholding affection; manipulating a person's anxieties or beliefs; being stopped from seeing friends or relatives; being insulted; being repeatedly belittled; 'honour-based' abuse; verbal abuse such as repeated yelling, verbal humiliation in private or company, insults and threats, or mocking someone about their disability, gender identity etc.

    If you have suffered domestic violence and want to report the incident to the police, then contact your local police force. Each force has a Unit for dealing with domestic abuse. This Unit has specially trained officers who can help you with all the difficulties that you may face when reporting domestic abuse, from personal safety to locating safe accommodation.

    Some useful telephone numbers are -

    For more information please see links to websites in related information.

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