What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is any type of abusive behaviour used to gain and maintain control over another.

Domestic violence is a relationship is when one partner or ex-partner consciously tries to manipulate and dominate the other. It is about the misuse of power and control.

Domestic violence can take many forms including physical violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse or social or financial control. Abuse does not have to be physical or sexual to be domestic violence. (For more information see types of abuse page on this site)

It can happen in all types of relationships: gay, lesbian or heterosexual; monogamous, open or three-way; dating, new relationships or long-term; live-in or not. And it happens across all communities, social classes, ages, cultural backgrounds and geographical areas.

Throughout this booklet domestic violence is referred to as abuse from one partner, or ex-partner, towards the other in an intimate or romantic relationship. However, domestic violence also includes abuse within other types of relationships including:  Between relatives, housemates, or a carer relationship either paid or unpaid.

All types of domestic violence are wrong and some like physical violence, sexual assault and stalking are criminal offences.

“She wasn’t physically violent at that stage but she was capable of shooting me down in words and making me feel humiliated and scared.” (FEMALE)