Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

According to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 domestic abuse means ‘abuse where the victim of it is or has been associated with the abuser. This can be committed by an intimate partner, ex-partner, spouse, civil partner or family relative’ (a full definition of intimate and familial relations can be accessed within the Act).

The abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse.

This is in line with the Home Office’s definition of domestic abuse as ‘any incident or pattern of incidents 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’.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

There are different kinds of abuse that can happen in different contexts. The most prevalent type of domestic abuse occurs in relationships. But the definition of domestic abuse also covers abuse between family members, such as adolescent to parent violence and abuse.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological and emotional - putting you down, isolating you from friends and family, blaming you, threatening you, making you feel as if you are ‘walking on egg shells’
  • Physical - kicks, rough handling, blows, burning, punching, shaking, strangling
  • Sexual - forcing or coercing you to have sex [rape] or hurting you during sex, preventing you from practicing safe sex, becoming angry if you don’t go along with sexual demands)  
  • Financial - taking your money, keeping you short of money, questioning spending, running up debts in your name
  • Coercive Control - The Serious Crime Act 2015 legally defines the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour within intimate or familial relations as domestic abuse. ‘Controlling behaviour 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 is an act or a pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim’.

If you think you, or somebody you know, is experiencing Domestic Abuse please go to the ‘Support and Advice section’.