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Definition of domestic violence

Domestic violence means any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling behaviour, coercive behaviour or abuse including (but not limited to):

    • psychological abuse
    • physical abuse
    • sexual abuse
    • emotional abuse
    • financial abuse

regardless of the gender or sexuality of the victim. See below for examples.


Coercive behaviour means an act of:

    • assault, or
    • humiliation, or
    • intimidation, or
    • other abuse

that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim.


Controlling behaviour means an act designed to make the victim subordinate or dependent by: 

    • isolating them from sources of support, or
    • exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, or
    • depriving them of the means needed for
      • independence, or
      • resistance, or
      • escape, or
      • regulating their everyday behaviour.


Psychological

Includes intimidation, insulating, isolating a person from friends and family, criticising, denying the abuse, treating a person as an inferior, threatening to harm children or take them away, forced marriage.

Physical

Includes shaking, smacking, punching, kicking, presence of finger or bites marks, starving, tying up, stabbing, suffocation, throwing things, using objects as weapons, genital mutilation, "honour violence".

Sexual

Includes forced sex, forced prostitution, ignoring religious prohibitions about sex, refusal to practise safe sex, sexual insults, sexually transmitted diseases, preventing breastfeeding.

Emotional

Includes swearing, undermining confidence, making racist remarks, making a person feel unattractive, calling a person stupid or useless, eroding a person's independence.

Financial 

Includes not letting a person work, undermining efforts to find work or study, refusing to give money, asking for an explanation of how every penny is spent, making a person beg for money.






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