What is domestic violence and abuse?

The UK government defines domestic violence as:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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.

Newcastle Women’s Aid recognises that women and children have the right to live safely without fear.  Domestic Violence is abuse from a partner or ex-partner (someone with whom you have had an intimate relationship with) and may be physical, emotional, coercive, sexual, or financial, forced marriage and honour based violence.

Domestic Abuse is the misuse of power and control. The abuser wants to dominate, wants all the power in the relationship and uses violence and abusive behaviours to establish and maintain power and control over others. The abuser may use a combination of the behaviours listed below to achieve this:

  • The abuse can include, but is not limited to the following:
  • Psychological/or emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Forced marriage and honour based violence
  • Coercive control
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Online or digital abuse

Who are the victims of domestic abuse?

  • Although both men and women can be abused, statistics show that most victims are women.  Women are more likely to experience repeated forms of violence including sexual violence.
  • Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, background, gender, religion, ethnicity or sexuality.
  • Domestic abuse can happen in all kinds of relationships: heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships. It can also happen within extended families between parents and children.

When does it happen?

  • Domestic abuse can happen at any stage in a relationship. It is rarely an isolated incident.
  • What causes domestic violence?
    Abusers choose to behave abusively in order to gain power and control. Abusive behaviour may originate from the abusers belief system which is often supported by sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory attitudes.
  • It is not caused by alcohol, drugs, stress or unemployment. These are excuses or justification for an abuser’s behaviour. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse and the causes of domestic abuse are far more deep rooted than simply being an effect of intoxication or alcohol/drug dependency.