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What is domestic violence and abuse?

External link to BBC website

Domestic violence and abuse includes a range of abusive behaviours which are used by an abusive partner, ex-partner or family member to maintain power and control over the victim. It's rarely a one off incident but an on-going pattern of behaviour and takes place regardless of social background, age, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity.

Domestic violence and abuse can take different forms including but not limited to:

  • Physical abuse: pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons.
  • Sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography.
  • Financial abuse: taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work.
  • Emotional abuse or coercive control: repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, playing mind games. Coercive control is now a criminal offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015.
  • Digital or online abuse: using technology to further isolate, humiliate or control someone.
  • Honour based violence: this is abuse justified to protect the honour or respect of a family or community, such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation.



​Domestic abuse contact details - see who can help with domestic violence and abuse.