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Q108: What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is violence - not necessarily only physical but also emotional, financial or sexual - between people who are or have been in an intimate relationship or are family members.

The definition of domestic violence is 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 can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

    • psychological
    • physical
    • sexual
    • financial
    • emotional

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.

The definition includes same sex partners and ex partners, it is irrespective how long ago the relationship ended.

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 domestic violence unit with specially trained officers who can help you with all the difficulties involved in reporting domestic violence from personal safety to locating safe accommodation.

Domestic violence can occur in any relationship regardless of age, sex, class, race or disability. For more information please see links to websites in related information.

Some useful telephone numbers are -

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