Help is available if you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence. 

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident. It should be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which a person seeks power over another. Typically, the abuse involves multiple instances of abusive and controlling behaviour, which tend to escalate over time.

Domestic abuse is defined as controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can include, but is not limited to:

Psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional and control – a range of acts designed to reduce a person’s independence by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for resistance and escape, and monitoring and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercion – an act or pattern of acts of force, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to obtain compliance.

It can include forced marriage, sexual harassment or violence, stalking, female genital mutilation, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, forced sex work or prostitution, human trafficking and modern slavery.

Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and class – anyone can be affected by it.  

Current statistics

  • Domestic abuse is likely to affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime
  • Domestic abuse leads to, on average, 100 women and 30 men being murdered each year
  • Women aged 16-24 are most likely to be experiencing domestic abuse.
  • One in five children have been exposed to domestic abuse, and 130,000 children live in households with high-risk domestic abuse. There is a strong link between domestic violence and child abuse, suggesting overlap rates of between 40-60%.
  • Domestic abuse has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police).

View more research on domestic abuse.

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