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women looking upsetDomestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic Abuse is a broad term used to describe a range of behaviour, not all of which is violent or even criminal that takes place within an intimate or family type relationship. Domestic Abuse can affect anyone; it transcends all boundaries regardless of race, religion, age or social background. It can take place in a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) relationship. It can involve a family member(s) including children and may include in addition to physical assaults, sexually abusive behaviour, emotional, psychological and financial control and abuse.

Definitions​

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or 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. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

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.

This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

A change to the official definition of domestic violence used across government will aim to increase awareness that young people in this age-group do experience domestic violence and abuse. This follows on from the Government’s successful Teenage Relationship Abuse Campaign and is backed up by the British Crime Survey 2009/10 which found that 16-19-year-olds were the group most likely to suffer abuse from a partner.

‘Just a Domestic?’

Domestic assaults are rarely one-off incidents and usually part of a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour. The abuser seeks to establish power over family and intimate partners.

Coercive & Controlling Behaviour

The Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. Prior to the introduction of this offence, case law indicated the difficulty in proving a pattern of behaviour amounting to harassment within an intimate relationship.

For the purposes of this offence, behaviour must be engaged in 'repeatedly' or 'continuously'. Another, separate, element of the offence is that it must have a 'serious effect' on someone and one way of proving this is that it causes someone to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against them.

The phrase 'substantial adverse effect on Bs usual day-to-day activities' may include, but is not limited to:

  • Stopping or changing the way someone socialises
  • Physical or mental health deterioration
  • A change in routine at home including those associated with mealtimes or household chores
  • Attendance record at school
  • Putting in place measures at home to safeguard themselves or their children
  • Changes to work patterns, employment status or routes to work

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.

Directory of services

City of London Police Domestic Abuse Action Plan

In 2015, the HMIC revisited each police force to examine how well they had progressed in responding and safeguarding victims of domestic abuse. HMIC noted that the City of London Police had made a number of positive responses to recommendations made in 2014 such as:

  • Force policy has been updated to include guidance on stalking & harassment,  

  • a comprehensive training package for staff had been completed,  

  • up to date intelligence on vulnerability of victims is provided to emergency response officer 24/7,  

  • body-worn cameras are now available to record injuries to victims and the demeanour of perpetrators; and  

  • Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) meetings now address the needs of High Risk victims of domestic abuse.

HMIC also noted that the City of London Police’s commitment to victims even if their connection with the City stems solely from it being their place of work. Whether crimes are investigated by the force or are to be transferred to other forces, all reasonable risks are addressed and safeguarding measures are put in place. This reflects the forces objective to put victims’ interests first, irrespective of in which jurisdiction the offence will be investigated.

In 2016/17 the Force published its Domestic Abuse Action Plan to set out what more we could do to address the issue of domestic abuse and how we can continue to provide a high quality service to our community. This plan has been reviewed and updated and sets out how we will build on what has already been accomplished and what will be addressed in 2017/18.

Download the Domestic Abuse Action Plan​

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