What is domestic abuse?

Move away from this page

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event, and can affect anyone, from any walk of life. Abuse tends to happen more and more over time – each time getting more serious. Whatever the extent of the abuse, it almost always leaves the victim frightened, isolated, humiliated or ashamed.

We are here for you. You are not alone.

Domestic abuse is defined 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.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour

This 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

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.

Move away from this page

How healthy is your relationship?

Take our domestic abuse quiz to see if you might be experiencing domestic abuse from a partner, ex-partner or family member.

Take the quiz

Report it

Report your abuse and get the help you need.  

More help and support

See our directory of domestic abuse support organisations.

Related Documents & Further Reading

12 Aug 21 1:09 PM

Find your neighbourhood


Use my current location