Domestic violence and abuse is defined by the UK government as "Any incident of controlling, coercive, 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".
Can you imagine a world in which someone is hiding, too frightened to move? A world where a simple trip to the shops leads to broken bones? Can you imagine a world where the threat of violence is an everyday occurrence? Sadly this isn't a war zone but the everyday lives of many women.
How can I get help?
Domestic violence is an abuse of human rights, an abuse that occurs within a relationship where there should be love and trust. It is a horribly common problem which can happen to anyone, young or old, rich or poor, male or female. Anyone can fall victim to domestic violence and abuse. It has devastating, far-reaching effects on the lives and health of those victims, on their children and on wider society. There are lots of ways to get help if this is happening to you, or to someone you know.
What counts as abuse?
Any form of physical or sexual abuse from your partner or your ex-partner is a form of domestic violence. But the reality is that any form of threatening or intimidating behaviour from them is domestic abuse. It is a way of controlling you and it is a crime.
If you are assaulted or threatened, humiliated or intimidated by your partner in order to make you behave in a particular way. If you feel as though your every move is being monitored, and this frightens you. If you feel you no longer have any independence and no way of getting the emotional, social or financial support you need. These are all forms of domestic violence and abuse.
Further reading and references
Home Office: Policy. Violence against women and girls in the UK; GOV.UK, March 2013
Improving safety, Reducing harm: Children, young people and domestic violence; Dept of Health, November 2009 (archived content)
Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation; HM Government (April 2016)
Protecting people promoting health. A public health approach to violence prevention in England; Dept of Health, October 2012
Domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking - Chapter 4: Focus on violent crime and sexual offences, Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW); Office for National Statistics (ONS), February 2017
Feder G, Davies RA, Baird K, et al; Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) of women experiencing domestic violence with a primary care training and support programme: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2011 Nov 19378(9805):1788-95. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61179-3. Epub 2011 Oct 12.
Buller AM, Devries KM, Howard LM, et al; Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS Med. 2014 Mar 411(3):e1001609. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609. eCollection 2014 Mar.
Domestic violence and abuse: how health services, social care and the organisations they work with can respond effectively; NICE Public Health Guidance (February 2014)
The World's Women 2015. Trends and Statistics. Violence against Women. Chapter 6; United Nations Statistics Division
Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence against women: taking action and generating evidence; World Health Organization, 2010
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