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Domestic Violence


‘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 of the following - 

(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.

Please see the links in Related Information for organisations that offer advice and support. 


If you have been assaulted and want to report it to the police, even if you do not have any visible injuries, you should contact your local police force and report the incident.

If your partner or ex-partner has assaulted you, and you are 16 and over, this will be treated as a report of domestic violence; the police have a responsibility to take positive action to reports of domestic violence.

For more information and support, please see questions Q108Q109 and Related Information. 



The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme gives members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquires about an individual who they are in a relationship with or who is in a relationship with someone they know where there is a concern that the individual may be violent towards their partner. This information may be disclosed via a request from a member of the public (Right to Ask) or be initiated by the police where a proactive decision is made to disclose information in order to protect a potential victim (Right to Know).


FGM is a 'hidden' crime that involves altering or removing parts of the female genital organs for non medical reasons. It is practised throughout countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East but is illegal in the UK. The punishment for this is a maximum of 14 years imprisonment and/or a fine.

There are various reasons given for this procedure including religious, social and cultural. However, in the UK it is seen as a form of child abuse and a violation of the child's right to life. The girls are usually aged between 5-8years but it can happen any time up until marriage or having a baby.

As a result of FGM, women suffer both physical and psychological trauma. This can include severe pain, bleeding, discomfort during sex and fertility problems. Psychologically they may experience flashbacks and nightmares.

If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of/undergone FGM, below are some key signs to look out for -

  • their family belong to a community that practice FGM and are planning a holiday. The child may even mention a special event that is going to take place.
  • Unusual behaviour on their return - discomfort, can't sit still, difficulty walking
  • Be reluctant to undergo medical examinations and may mention something has happened but they're not allowed to say what.

If you or someone you know has undergone/is at risk of FGM, we would advise that you contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550, via their email address - fgmhelp or you can inform your local police force via 101.

Contact your local police force

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