What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic Abuse means different things to different people. Some people would never associate with the term ‘domestic abuse’ or identify themselves with perhaps being a ‘victim’ or ‘perpetrator’ of abuse. However, victims and perpetrators are everywhere, in a variety of different guises; we just may not recognise the signs.

Domestic Abuse does not discriminate, there is no stereotypical perpetrator, no stereotypical victim, and no stereotypical domestic abuse incident.

The Domestic Abuse Act, 2021 provides a statutory definition of domestic abuse as abusive behaviour between two people that are ‘personally connected’ to each other in some way. Two people are personally connected if they are both aged 16 and over and the following applies:-

They are currently or have been previously:-

  • in an intimate personal relationship with each other;
  • married or civil partners to each other;
  • been involved in an agreement to marry or enter into a civil partnership with one another; this incorporates forced marriage where there has been an element of control or duress to agree to that proposed marriage but also a relationship where there is a plan to marry but no intimacy has taken place.
  • in a parental relationship in relation to the same child;
  • relatives or family members.
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What are the different forms of Domestic Abuse?

It is not always about violence or physical abuse but can also present as one of the following:-

  • violent or threatening behaviour
  • emotional or psychological abuse
  • coercive control
  • financial and economic abuse
  • sexual abuse.

It does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

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 colleagues sending ripples across communities and workforces.

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