What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is defined as ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, or violent behaviour’ in most cases by a partner or ex-partner. It can also be perpetrated by a family member or carer. Usually, men are the perpetrators and women the victims of domestic abuse. However, domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, gender, religion, sexuality, or ethnicity. Domestic abuse is a crime and is never the fault of the person who is experiencing it.
What does this mean
Controlling behaviour – 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.
Examples of controlling behaviour: Your partner is jealous and possessive. Your partner tells you what to wear, where to go and who to see. Your partner controls your money or makes you dependent on them for everyday things. Your partner prevents you from accessing medicine, devices or care that you need. Your partner monitors of tracks your movements or messages.
Coercive behaviour – 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.
Examples of controlling behaviour: Your partner is charming one minute and abusive the next. Your partner constantly puts you down. Your partner plays mind games and makes you doubt your judgement. You are starting to walk on eggshells to avoid making your partner angry. Your partner pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to. Your partner uses anger and intimidation to frighten and control you.
Seeking Help and Homelessness
If you are in an abusive relationship, it is important that you seek help. You are never to blame for domestic violence and ignoring violence can be dangerous not only for yourself but for children who are often in the same or next room when abuse occurs. Children are recognised as victims of Domestic Violence under the 2021 Domestic Abuse Act.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is free to call on 0808 2000 247
Call 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also approach a Police Station or Community Safety Unit if you wish to report an incident.
If you cannot stay in your home or need help to deal with domestic abuse, you can make a homeless application to the council. Under the 2021 Domestic Abuse Act you have automatic priority need if you’re homeless because of domestic abuse.
Click here for more information about homelessness and domestic abuse.
You may find it difficult to talk to a housing officer about what you're experiencing. It can help to talk to a domestic abuse charity first. A list of charities that can support you is available here.
Last Updated 20/12/2022