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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is defined by the Home Office as ‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or who have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Emotional abuse

Domestic abuse includes so-called ‘Honour’-based violence, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation.

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Some key statistics

  • LGBT1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse within their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 7 children will have lived with domestic abuse.
  • On average, 2 women are killed every week in the UK as a result of domestic abuse.
  • On average, someone will have experienced 30 incidents of domestic abuse before reaching out for help.
  • Domestic abuse cases now account for 14.1% of all court prosecutions.
  • On average, the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds.
  • 95 out of 100 domestic abuse survivors in a Women’s Aid study reported experiencing coercive control.

(Women’s Aid, 2016)




Coercive control

Coercively controlling behaviour was officially criminalised on 29 December 2015. This means that perpetrators who are attempting to control and emotionally, financially, and psychologically abuse their (ex)partners/family members could face criminal charges for their actions.

Coercive control is defined as ‘A course of conduct in which a pattern of violence, sexual coercion, intimidation, isolation and control are used to dominate and exploit a partner and deprive her of her basic rights and resources’ (Evan Stark 2007).

This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Stalking
  • Not allowing you to leave your property
  • Telling you what to wear
  • Preventing you from going to work
  • Controlling your finances
  • Threats
  • Putting you down (name calling etc).

If you feel that you, or someone you know or who you are working with, are being coercively controlled, please call our helpdesk on 0845 602 9035 and they will discuss your options with you.




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