What is domestic violence / abuse.
There are various definitions of domestic abuse. The most commonly used definitions include an understanding that the abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, financial and other forms of behaviour that hurt, frighten, injure, threaten or control the person abused, that the behaviour is usually used by men against their female partners or ex-partners, but that it can also be used by women against their male partners or ex-partners or in lesbian or gay relationships and that the abuse is used to control the partner or ex-partner.
Some people use the term “domestic abuse”, others use “domestic violence” and there are other terms as well, such as “dating abuse/violence”. In general, the term “domestic abuse” is used by most agencies involved in helping people affected. Some people feel that “domestic violence” does not cover non-physical forms of abuse, others feel that it does or that this does not matter. Some agencies cannot use a definition that includes behaviour that is legal, even though unacceptable. In this tool kit we have mostly used the term “domestic abuse” but sometimes use “domestic violence” which reflects how we work with children and young people.
So, what is the definition of domestic violence or abuse?
Domestic violence or abuse is “the misuse of physical, emotional, sexual or financial control by one person over another who is or has been in a relationship. This includes family members.
Domestic violence or abuse covers a wide range of behaviours and may be actual or threatened. Domestic violence or abuse is, usually, perpetrated by men against women, but not exclusively. Domestic violence or abuse occurs in all groups and sections of society and may be experienced differently, due to, and compounded by, race, sexuality, disability, age, religion, culture, class or mental health.”.
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