News story

Domestic violence protection extended

People under 18 could be included in the cross-government definition of domestic violence for the first time.

We are asking the public, police, charities and practitioners for views on the definition of domestic violence.

We want to know whether broadening the definition would help provide greater protection and support to victims.

The consultation seeks views on three areas:

  • whether the current cross-government definition of domestic violence introduced in 2004 is working and should remain
  • whether ‘coercive control’ should be reflected in the definition
  • whether the definition of domestic violence should include younger victims below 18 years of age

Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘Domestic violence is a particularly dreadful form of abuse that affects people of all ages and backgrounds.  We need to ensure we are providing protection and support to all victims.

‘Effective prevention and help can only happen when all the agencies involved work together to common goals and a common understanding. It is also vital that victims themselves are clear what constitutes abuse so they seek help early and unnecessary suffering can be avoided by adults and children alike.’

Coercive control

Coercive control is a complex pattern of abuse using power and psychological control over another - financial control, verbal abuse, forced social isolation.  These incidents may vary in seriousness and be repeated over time.  It is widely recognised that domestic violence is often underpinned by a pattern of such behaviour.

Read the full consultation and respond here. The consultation will run until 30 March 2012.

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