Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or 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. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
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.
This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called 'honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography.
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.
Asking for support and advice is often a very difficult thing to do if you are feeling isolated or low in yourself. You may not even feel that you deserve to have support.
It is important to know that there are services out there that can provide advice at the right level for you, your children, family and friends.
Often the first step to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse is sharing your problem with another person whether that is through the helpline, outreach worker or a support group.
Follow the links to the left of this page for more specific information and advice on particular topics.
We also have local information pages giving you extra information about Buckinghamshire, Havering, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Wokingham and West Berkshire - if these are appropriate to you then click on the relevant area name.