‘Domestic abuse’ is the ‘abusive’ behaviour of a person (who is aged 16 or over) towards another person (who is aged 16 or over) and these persons are ‘personally connected’. Personally connected means that the persons –
(a) are, or have been, married to each other;
(b) are, or have been, civil partners of each other;
(c) have agreed to marry one another (whether or not the agreement has been terminated);
(d) have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not the agreement has been terminated);
(e) they are, or have been, in an intimate personal relationship with each other;
(f) they each have, or there has been a time when they each have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child (see subsection (2));
(g) they are relatives –
(i) the father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandmother, grandfather, grandson or granddaughter of that person or of that person's spouse, former spouse, civil partner or former civil partner, or
(ii) the brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew or first cousin (whether of the full blood or of the half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) of that person or of that person's spouse, former spouse, civil partner or former civil partner; and
includes, in relation to a person who is cohabiting or has cohabited with another person, any person who would fall within paragraph (i) or (ii) if the parties were married to each other or were civil partners of each other.
Abusive behaviour is any behaviour where the abuser seeks to obtain control or power over the victim such as -
(a) physical or sexual abuse;
(b) violent or threatening behaviour;
(c) controlling or coercive behaviour;
(d) economic abuse;
(e) psychological, emotional or other abuse;
Domestic abuse can impact on a child who sees or hears or experiences the effects of the abuse of the victim by the abuser and as such can also seek help.
Domestic abuse can occur amongst people of all ethnic backgrounds, sexualities, ages, disabilities, immigration status, religions or beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Most incidents of domestic abuse will be a criminal offence which may be reported to your local police force by telephoning 101 or by online reporting. In an emergency dial 999.
Organisations that can offer advice and support are as follows –