What is domestic violence and abuse?

The UK government defines domestic violence and abuse 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 eligibility criteria

Newcastle Women’s Aid recognise all women and children have the right to live in safety and without fear. We provide specialist support for women and girls affected by intimate partner violence and abuse (someone with whom you have had an intimate relationship.)

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.

What is domestic abuse?

It 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. The abuser may use a combination of the following behaviours listed below. Abuse can include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Psychological and emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial and economic abuse
  • Forced marriage and honour based violence
  • Coercive control
  • Stalking and harassment
  • Online or digital abuse

Who are the victims of domestic abuse?

  • Both women and men can be victims of domestic abuse, however, 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.

Why does it happen

  • Domestic abuse can happen at any stage in a relationship and it is rarely a one off incident.
  • Abusive behaviours may originate from a belief system which is often supported by sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory attitudes.
  • Domestic abuse does not happen because of alcohol, drugs, stress or unemployment. These are excuses often used to justify abusive behaviour.
  • Perpetrators choose to behave abusively in order to control.