Domestic abuse is a common problem in the UK. An Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey in 2014 determined that 7.1% of women and 4.4% of men had been victims of domestic abuse at some time in the preceding year, whilst 30% of women and 16.3% of men had reported suffering domestic abuse at some time in their adulthood (ONS, 2014)
The Home Office describes domestic abuse as:
“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 regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
- Psychological abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Emotional abuse
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, or frighten their victim.” (Home Office, 2015)
Domestic abuse has been shown to have a strong link with the abuse and neglect of children as well as the direct impact on the potentially vulnerable victim, and as such has a wide reaching impact across safeguarding & the GP practice population.