An incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threating, degrading, or violent behaviour, including sexual violence¹. In most cases, this is perpetrated by a partner or ex-partner, but can also be inflicted by a family member or carer. Domestic abuse can occur within the home or elsewhere, and often continues after the relationship between the survivor and perpetrator is over.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone.
If behaviour results in feelings of fear, alarm, or distress, it is abuse. You have a right to feel safe and to live fear free.
Types of domestic abuse
There are many different forms of domestic abuse. These may include, but are not limited to:
(Please click the headings below for further information. Note that these contain descriptions of abuse that may be triggering.)
Why is gender important?
Although domestic abuse can happen to anyone, it disproportionately affects women2. As such, it is considered a gendered crime, rooted in structural inequality between men and women, and is part of the wider landscape of violence against women and girls (known as VAWDASV).
Women who experience other forms of oppression, such as racism, ableism, homophobia, and discrimination due to their immigration status, may face further barriers to disclosing abuse and accessing support. For example, women who are subject to immigration control are often prevented from accessing services as they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
Anyone affected by these forms of violence and abuse should be able to access help and support when they need it and every case should be taken seriously.
The Live Fear Free Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for women, children and men experiencing domestic abuse, sexual violence or other forms of violence against women.