What is Domestic Abuse

HMSC - The definition of Domestic Abuse:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

 - psychological

 - physical

 - sexual

 - financial

 - emotional

The very nature of Domestic Violence is that it goes on behind closed doors. It’s carried out in a sly, manipulative manner, not just in violence but in emotional manipulation and financial abuse. Few women ever disclose what is going on at home, even going to great lengths to hide it purely out of feelings of shame, fear, and the desire to protect those around them.  It happens to women in all social positions. Not just women, but men too, find themselves in this position after a long and gradual process, exercising control and fear through subtle actions and gestures and manipulation of simple situations. This leaves the victim in a state of confusion, worry and permanently living on a knife-edge. It never goes away or tails off – it just gets worse. This is supported and worsened under the reinforced belief of ‘you made me do it,’ or ‘you know what I’m like,’ or ‘you know it winds me up’.

Domestic abuse is not just the act of a man hitting a woman. It goes far deeper. Domestic abuse is the systematic and gradual manipulation of another person in order to exercise emotional control and power over another under the umbrella of a relationship. 


As women we naturally act to keep peace in our homes - it’s almost instinctive. However, when a man’s behaviour begins to cause us anxiety to the point we are pre-empting his actions and manipulate our daily lives in fear of this, the relationship becomes unhealthy. As well as the fact that we love our families and our partners dearly, we will do anything to promote a happy life in our homes.


“It's like living in a permanent cycle of anxiety controlled by the fear of his moods, expectations and irrational expectations.”  - Female 38 years.


Controlling behaviour


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


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.

(Home Office Report March 2015)


Many people do not even realise that they in the situation before it is too late. Awareness needs to be made public on the issue of domestic abuse. So long has this been kept behind closed doors people need to be educated on how to spot the signs of an abusive relationship. The public need to also be aware of the signs in order to give support and help those they know are in this situation.