Defining Domestic Abuse

Defining Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse can be defined as any incident of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults 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 and emotional, and it can affect anyone in our community. People may experience domestic abuse regardless of ethnicity, religion, class, age, sexuality, disability or lifestyle. Domestic abuse can also occur in a range of relationships including heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships, and also within extended families.

Unfortunately, when many people think of domestic violence, they still think of the physical act of violence, and while this is very important, and certainly not to be dismissed, the other forms of abuse can be just as, if not more damaging, especially in the long-term.

Perpetrators choose to behave abusively to get what they want and gain control and therefore the perpetrator is responsible for their own behaviour. Abusers come from all walks of life, from any ethnic group, religion, class or neighbourhood, and of any age.

Domestic abuse can include:

• emotional abuse
• verbal abuse
• physical assault
• sexual assault
• financial abuse
• psychological abuse
• digital abuse
• isolating a woman from her friends and family
• stopping a woman from practicing her religion.


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