Relationship/Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial in nature and includes intimidation/threats from a current or previous partner or family members. 

It’s important to remember that it can affect anyone; this abuse is fundamentally about coercion/control, and it can occur in any relationship at any time. Although women are disproportionately affected by domestic/relationship abuse, both women and men can be the abused or abusers. It is also important to note that domestic abuse can happen within relationships involving people of any age; it is not something that only happens within married relationships, for example. 

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, frighten, isolate or create dependence. 

Relationship/Domestic abuse can look like things such as: 
  • Withholding money or preventing someone from earning money 
  • Taking control over aspects of someone's everyday life, which can include where they go and what they wear 
  • Not letting someone leave the house or see friends/family 
  • Reading emails, text messages or letters 
  • Threatening to kill or harm them, a partner, another family member or pet 

Honour-based violence 

There is no statutory definition of Honour-Based Violence or specific offence linked to it, rather it is an umbrella term to encompass various offences covered by existing legislation. The Home Office adopt the definition that it is a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend honour of the family and/or community. 

Honour based violence can come in many forms as a means to ‘restore honour’ and can include sexual and psychological abuse, physical assault, abduction and murder. All cultures, nationalities, faith groups and communities can be affected by this but it is shown that women are particularly at risk. 

Forced marriage 

Forced marriage is when one or both parties do not consent to the marriage. They may face physical pressure to marry (such as threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g. if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family). 

If you or someone you know is being forced to marry, or is already in a forced marriage, the law provides criminal and civil protection. The individual at risk, or a third party on an individual’s behalf, can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO). An FMPO aims to protect people threatened with, or already in, a forced marriage. 

It’s important to remember that a forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage. With an arranged marriage both parties give their full and free consent to their union but families take a leading role in choosing a partner. 


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