Domestic abuse isn't just physical. It’s about someone you know trying to control your life - a partner, ex partner, friend or family member. It can be financial, psychological, emotional or sexual and there is no excuse for it. Abuse can affect long term wellbeing and self esteem and also that of children living with domestic abuse.
Any woman can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. Domestic abuse can take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships, and can involve other family members, including children.
What is the official definition?
The Government defines domestic violence as
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:
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.