News story

Extended definition of domestic violence takes effect

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From today a wider definition of domestic violence, including 16 and 17 year olds and controlling behaviour takes effect

Extended definition of domestic violence
Extended definition of domestic violence

The definition of domestic violence has today been expanded to cover more victims.

Young people aged 16 to 17 and coercive control – a pattern of controlling behaviour – will now be included for the first time.

The new cross-government definition will raise awareness about the many types of domestic abuse that can ruin lives and encourage more people to seek help.

Domestic Violence

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:

Domestic violence is a devastating crime that can affect people of all ages. Abuse can be emotional as well as physical, and the government is determined to ensure all victims have the protection and support they need.

That is why we are extending the definition of domestic violence to include 16 to 17-year-olds and coercive, or controlling, behaviour.

The new definition makes it clear exactly what counts as abuse and will help adults and young people avoid unnecessary suffering.

Sadly statistics show that 16-19 year old girls were the group most likely to suffer domestic abuse in the last year.

It is vital that victims, and those supporting them, are clear about what constitutes abuse so they seek the support they need at an early stage and do not suffer in silence.

Teen Relationship Abuse

The extension of the domestic violence definition builds on the launch of the Home Office’s Teenage Relationship Abuse and Teenage Rape Prevention campaigns to help young people identify abuse.

A joint Home Office and NSPCC young people’s panel – made up of those who have experienced domestic violence - has also been established to help inform the government’s work in this area.

Published 31 March 2013