Domestic abuse policy

Definition of Domestic Abuse

4.1 We use the principles of the Governments definition of domestic abuse 

The behaviour of a person towards another person is “domestic abuse” if both parties are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and the behaviour is abusive:

Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following:

  • Physical or sexual abuse 
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse
  • Psychological, emotional or other abuse

It does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.  

4.2 Controlling behaviour is defined as 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.

4.3 Coercive behaviour is defined as 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.

4.4 Controlling and coercive behaviour is defined under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 as causing someone to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions or generating serious alarm or distress that has a substantial effect on their usual day to day activities.

4.5 Economic abuse involves behaviours that interfere with an individual’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources such as money, transportation and utilities. It can be controlling or coercive. It can make the individual economically dependent on the abuser, thereby limiting their ability to escape and access safety.

4.6 Stalking is a pattern of persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered, scared, anxious or harassed. Some examples of stalking are:

  • Regularly giving unwanted gifts
  • Making unwanted communication
  • Damaging property
  • Repeatedly following you or spying on you
  • Threats

Taken in isolation, some of the behaviours may seem like small acts, but together they make up a consistent pattern of behaviour that is frightening and upsetting. It’s important to know that stalking is a criminal offence.

4.7 The definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FMG) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender.

4.8 The term Violence Against Women and Girls refers to the following range of serious crime types which are predominantly, but not exclusively, experienced by women and girls: Domestic Violence and Abuse; sexual offences; stalking; FGM; crimes said to be committed in the name of ‘honour'; forced marriage; prostitution; and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

4.9 We define people who are ‘personally connected’ as: intimate partners, ex-partners, family members or individuals who share parental responsibility for a child. There is no requirement for the victim and perpetrator to live in the same household.