What Is Domestic Abuse?

The Domestic Abuse Act states that the behaviour of a person, towards another person is domestic abuse if they are each aged 16 and over and are personally connected to each other and the behaviour is abusive.

What is abusive behaviour?

Abusive behaviour is any of the following:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent of threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse
  • Any psychological, emotional or other abuse.

Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim.

Typically, the abuse involves a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, which tends to get worse over time. The abuse can begin at any time, in the first year, or after many years of life together. It may begin, continue, or escalate after a couple have separated and may take place not only in the home but also in a public place. Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography.

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 assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Economic abuse examples include:

  • Having sole control of the family income;
  • Preventing a victim from claiming welfare benefits;
  • Interfering with a victim’s education, training, or employment;
  • Not allowing or controlling a victim’s access to mobile phone/transport/utilities/food;
  • Damage to a victim’s property

More information on Economic Abuse can be found on  Surviving Economic Abuse - I need help

Where to find support:

  • MKACT offers support on our behalf to anyone who has or is suffering from fear and abuse.  They can help you seek the right support from our services or support you in moving to a safer area.  We urge you to seek support as quickly as you can. Telephone 0344 375 4307 (helpline available 9am-5pm)
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline National Helpline Telephone 0808 2000247
  • Mankind Initiative - Confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence Mankind 01823 334244 (Available 10am-4pm)
  • The National LGBT+ Domestic abuse helpline 0800 999 5428
  • Suzy Lamplugh Trust  National Stalking Helpline