Domestic abuse is far more common than many of us would care to think.

Domestic abuse or violence is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, by a partner or ex-partner.

Unfortunately, domestic abuse and/or violence toward partners is now a very common occurrence.

In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men, although it is not unheard of for domestic abuse and/or violence to be perpetrated by women and inflicted upon men. Whatever help is on offer to women is, of course, equally available to male victims.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Online or digital abuse – most commonly by Facebook or other social media

Women are more likely than men to experience multiple incidents of abuse, different types of domestic abuse (intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking) and in particular sexual violence.

Any woman can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, sexuality, class, or disability. Some women who experience other forms of oppression and discrimination, however, may face further barriers to disclosing abuse and finding help.

Domestic abuse exists as part of violence against women and girls; which also includes different forms of family violence such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation and so called “honour crimes” that are perpetrated primarily by family members, often with multiple perpetrators.