What is domestic violence?

‘Domestic violence’ has largely been replaced by ‘domestic abuse’ as the preferred term to describe a pattern of controlling behaviour used within relationships.  The change to ‘domestic abuse’ is a reflection on the wide range of abusive behaviours, not just physical violence, which commonly occur.  The term ‘abuse’ is used to describe behaviour which not only physically violates but emotionally, mentally, verbally and sexually violates (but is not limited to these).  The term ‘domestic violence’ is generally used completely interchangeably with the term ‘domestic abuse’.

In addition some other terms are now used to describe domestic abuse or domestic violence, these include:

  • Battering, Battered Women/Wives, Battered Men/Husbands
  • Intimate Partner Abuse/Violence
  • Spousal Abuse/violence
  • Family Abuse/violence

Commonly, different terms are used in different countries, but are still recognised as referring to the same controlling behaviour.