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What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is characterised by 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. It encompasses abuse by a son, daughter or any other person who has a close or blood relationship with the victim or who has lived in the same home as them at some point. APVA stands for Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse which is incorporated into definitions of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse can take the form of physical abuse, psychological and emotional abuse, financial and economic abuse, sexual abuse and coercive control. Sometimes a combination of more than one of these is occurring and in some cases, all of them together.

Ending an abusive relationship offers no guarantees that the abuse will stop. The abuse may even escalate through stalking or harassment as well as violence. This is where advice and support becomes incredibly important for anyone wanting to truly break free.

The impact of domestic abuse and related stalking and harrassment is vast. It not only impacts the victim and their family but also their friends, neighbours and communities where they live and work.

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A Home Office report released in January in 2019 estimated the social and economic cost for victims of domestic abuse in 2016/17 in England and Wales to be approximately £66 billion. The figures are complex and relate to anticipated, consequential and responsive costs from protective and preventative measures to police and criminal justice system responses. As a result, the average unit cost of a domestic abuse victim is calculated at £34,015.

A recent analysis in 2018 released by Trust for London and the Henry Smith Charity, highlights the costs of domestic violence to the public purse across England – a minimum of £5 million each week in every region. Costs are split into the following areas:-

  • physical and mental health cost
  • criminal justice costs
  • social services costs
  • housing and refuge costs
  • civil legal costs
  • lost economic output

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