The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
This is not a legal definition.
Definition of domestic violence and abuse: guide for local areas
To help local areas consider the consider how the extension to the definition of domestic violence and abuse may impact on their services, the Home Office, in partnership with Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) has produced a guide for local areas.
A guide for Wales is currently being developed and will be published in due course.
Read information and practice guidelines for professionals protecting, advising and supporting victims of forced marriage.
Three steps to escaping domestic violence
Read the leaflet the Home Office developed with Southall Black Sisters at women in black and minority ethnic communities: Three steps to escaping domestic violence.
Domestic abuse and young people
The changes to the definition of domestic raise awareness that young people in the 16 to 17 age group can also be victims of domestic violence and abuse.
By including this age group the government hopes to encourage young people to come forward and get the support they need, through a helpline or specialist service.
Young people’s panel
A young people’s panel will be set up by the NSPCC. The panel will consist of up to 5 members between the age of 16 and 22, who will work with the government on domestic violence policy and wider work to tackle violence against women and girls.
Domestic violence disclosure scheme
From 8 March 2014, the domestic violence disclosure scheme will be implemented across England and Wales. This follows the successful conclusion of a 1 year pilot in the Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, West Mercia and Wiltshire police force areas.
Right to ask
Under the scheme an individual can ask police to check whether a new or existing partner has a violent past. This is the ‘right to ask’. If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic violence from a partner, the police will consider disclosing the information. A disclosure can be made if it is legal, proportionate and necessary to do so.
Right to know
This enables an agency to apply for a discloure if the agency believes that an indivdual is at risk of domestic violence from their partner. Again, the police can release information if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so.
The pilot assessment report and the impact assessment on the disclosure scheme are available. You can also read the domestic violence disclosure scheme guidance.
Domestic violence protection notices and orders
Domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs) are being implemented across England and Wales from 8 March 2014. This follows the successful conclusion of a 1 year pilot in the West Mercia, Wiltshire and Greater Manchester police force areas.
Domestic violence protection orders are a new power that fills a gap in providing protection to victims by enabling the police and magistrates to put in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
With DVPOs, a perpetrator can be banned with immediate effect from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days, allowing the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need.
Before the scheme, there was a gap in protection, because police couldn’t charge the perpetrator for lack of evidence and so provide protection to a victim through bail conditions, and because the process of granting injunctions took time.
The DVPO evaluation report and the DVPO impact assessment are available. You can also read the DVPO interim guidelines.
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