What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is one of the most harmful crimes in our communities. It may make you feel trapped, controlled, hopeless, scared, or worried. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone - There are no barriers to this experience.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse as:

Behaviour of a person ‘A’ towards another person ‘B’ is domestic abuse if

  • they are personally connected to each other, and
  • the behaviour is abusive

Personally connected could mean through an intimate relationship, a marriage, cohabiting, civil partnership, family members, ex partners etc. This personal connection can be between anyone regardless of gender or sexuality. This definition includes those over 18 years of age.

The definition also goes on to outline what behaviours can be described as abusive – this is explored below. Since the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, children who live in a household with domestic abuse are regarded as victims and not just witnesses.

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