What is domestic abuse?

Exit site

Cover your tracks

If you or someone else is in immediate danger always call 999

Report a non-emergency crime by calling 101 Police or report online

How to make a silent phone call to the police

How to make a silent 999 call to the Metropolitan Police

Survivors Handbook

The Survivor’s Handbook provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with simple guidance on every aspect of seeking support.

Recognising domestic abuse

Am I, or is someone I know in an abusive relationship?

Spotting signs: male victims of domestic abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is defined 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.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, background, or socio-economic status.

There are different types of abuse and it is not always physical.

Emotional abuse

Is sometimes called psychological abuse and involves the emotional mistreatment of a person. Examples of this are humiliation and constant criticism, threatening, shouting, name calling, making a person feel small and manipulation.

Physical abuse

Involves deliberately hurting or injuring a person. for example, by hitting, punching, biting, throwing things, pulling hair, and holding a person down.

Sexual abuse

Sexual behaviour or a sexual act that is forced upon a person without their consent or by taking advantage of the person.

Financial abuse

Is also known as economic abuse and includes controlling a person’s money and finances, taking out loans or credit cards in their name without consent, stopping them from working or keeping the money they earn.

Coercive control

An abuser may not be physically violent, but use threats of violence, intimidation, and manipulation to make a person feel controlled, fearful, exploited, and isolated from support.

Domestic abuse also includes female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

Domestic abuse information and support