What is VAWG?

About VAWG and the different types of violence and abuse.

Domestic abuse

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The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 states the following definition of domestic abuse.

"Behaviour of a person (A) towards another person (B) is ‘domestic abuse’ if:

(a) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and
(b) the behaviour is abusive.

Behaviour is ‘abusive’ if it consists of any of the following:

(a) physical or sexual abuse;
(b) violent or threatening behaviour;
(c) controlling or coercive behaviour;
(d) economic abuse;
(e) psychological, emotional or other abuse;

and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct."

Personally connected

Personally connected covers intimate partners or ex-partners, or family members. As part of this definition, children are explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of abuse.

Controlling behaviour

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
  • regulating their everyday behaviour

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Coercive 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 the victim for their behaviour and/or identity, perceived or real.

We acknowledge that within the definition of domestic abuse there are a wide range of different abuses including: intimate partner violence and abuse for people of all ages, genders and sexualities; adult family violence and abuse; so-called ‘honour’- based abuse; forced marriage; child to parent, and adolescent to parent violence and abuse.

While all are gendered (most victims and survivors are women and most perpetrators are men) and coercive control is the main feature of the abuse, there are differences, and we need to ensure responses and interventions are tailored and appropriate.