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The UK Government defines domestic violence and abuse as:
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:
To help us further understand the above definition the government explains the terms ‘controlling’ and ‘coercive’ in the following way:
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.
Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 creates the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationships and victims who experience such behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse, can bring their perpetrators to justice. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.
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Domestic abuse or violence is a crime and should be reported to the police either by calling 999 if it’s an emergency or you are in immediate danger or by calling your local neighbourhood policing team if it is not an emergency.
There are also a number of organisations from which you can get help and advice:
English National Domestic Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people)
0800 999 5428
Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
0800 027 1234
Scottish Women’s Aid
0131 226 6606
Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 80 10 800
Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland)
0800 917 1414