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What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse, often referred to as domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behaviours used by one partner to maintain power and/or control over the other in a relationship.  

Abuse can manifest itself in a variety of forms with diverse triggers. The Power and Control Wheel (the Duluth Model) identifies the wide range of tactics an abusive partner can employ to manipulate a relationship and achieve dominance. 

Abuse is multi-faceted and may be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional/psychological, social and financial. Tools of harassment, intimidation and controlling or coercive behaviour commonly fall within a perpetrators arsenal.  

Types of Abuse 

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). This type of abuse is an act or pattern of assault, threats, intimidation or other abuse used to harm, frighten or punish the victim. It makes them isolated from others and regulates their daily behaviour. 

  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse 

  • Physical or sexual abuse 

  • Financial or economic abuse. This is a form of coercive abuse that often is used alongside other forms of abuse to control the victim. The abuser controls the victims finances and freedom of choice and can even involve restricting the victims access to essential items such as food and clothing. 

  • Harassment and stalking 

  • Online or digital abuse. Abusers can read emails, check texts and follow location of social media posts. 

What is the minimum sentence for domestic violence?

Domestic abuse covers a wide range of offences so there is not a definitive sentence for every situation. However, the Sentencing Council published domestic abuse guidelines in February 2018, with the aim of ensuring the seriousness of these offences and the relationship between the parties is taken into account when sentencing.


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