The Government definition of domestic violence (as of April 1, 2013):
"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 and emotional."
Examples of domestic abuse
Domestic violence and abuse can take different forms. Although it can be very frightening, sometimes it is also very subtle. Some examples include:
- threats and intimidation - threatening to hurt you or members of your family
- physical abuse - hitting, shoving, kicking, strangling or slapping, hair pulling, throwing things, choking or smothering, even when it doesn't leave physical marks
- sexual abuse - performing sexual acts or having sex with you when you don't want to. This can include the use of threats, intimidation, coercive behaviour or physical force, although it is still sexual abuse even without using these
- insults by name calling or criticism of your appearance or identity
- criticism and put-downs
- forced isolation from your friends or family
- being blamed for every argument or problem, or for the violent behaviour
- humiliation at home or in public
- controlling behaviour - telling you what to do or wear, or using manipulation or coercion. Following you or checking up on your mobile phone, post or internet use
- financial abuse - preventing you from getting or keeping a job, taking your money away or withholding the family income
Are you experiencing domestic abuse?
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, it is important to remember that it is not your fault, and that you do not have live through it in silence and on your own. You are entitled to live your life free from fear. Go to our page on help for people experiencing domestic abuse for details on the many people and organisations whom you can turn to for help and advice.