Domestic abuse


Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse – it happens in all communities, to people from all backgrounds.

In law, domestic abuse is abusive behaviour from one person towards another person, where both are aged 16 or over and personally connected to each other. The behaviour is abusive if it consists of any of the following:

  • physical or sexual abuse
  • violent or threatening behaviour
  • controlling or coercive behaviour
  • economic abuse
  • psychological, emotional, or other abuse

The law recognises that:

  • being "personally connected" includes ex-partners and family members
  • domestic abuse affects children who see, hear or experience the effects of the abuse
  • children are also victims of domestic abuse where they are related to, or under parental responsibility, of either the abuser or the abused

For full details of what the law says, go to Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

You can find factsheets about the law and all its provisions – from being proposed to UK Parliament in 2020 to becoming law in 2021– at GOV.UK: Domestic Abuse Bill 2020 factsheets.

Taking action

You can report domestic abuse.

Support for victims is available, both locally and nationally.

Help to change abusive behaviour is also available.