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Domestic Abuse Awareness Training


Domestic abuse is legally defined as:

‘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’

Put more simply, it means any acts of bullying, hurting or threatening behaviour by someone you know. This includes spouses, partners and family members. It is an abuse of power and control, usually involving a pattern of abusive behaviour which becomes more severe over time.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. It occurs across all socio-economic, religious and racial groups regardless of age, gender, sexuality and geography. 


Domestic abuse is on the increase. 

In England and Wales, police recorded domestic abuse-related crimes rose 6% in the year ending March 2021 to 845,734. WAITS believes that is a small proportion of the true number of cases as abuse is so well hidden and the victims are often too frightened to come forward.  

Research suggests that:

  • 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic abuse and violence in their lifetime, many of these on several occasions
  • There was a 22% increase in people supported by the National Domestic Abuse Helpline in England in the year ending March 2021
  • One incident is reported to the police every minute and 23% of assaults recorded are domestic abuse assaults
  • One average, two women per week are killed by a current or former male partner
  • In up to 36% of cases, children will see their mother being assaulted
  • The impact of domestic abuse on children will result in accident and injury, traumatisation, social and educational disturbances and, in some cases, learned behaviour


When people think of abusive relationships, they tend to think of violence but that is just one type of domestic abuse.

There are in fact several types of abuse under the domestic abuse umbrella.

Let’s look at each one in turn and what it means for the victim.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse occurs when someone makes, or threatens to make, intentional, unwanted contact with another person’s body. It is one of the most common forms of domestic abuse.

Examples include:

  • Punching, slapping, biting, kicking and strangling
  • Deliberately throwing an object at someone
  • Pulling their hair or grabbing their clothing
  • Pushing or pulling someone
  • Using force to prevent someone from leaving or forcing them to go somewhere they don’t want to 


Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when a person is pressured to do something sexually that they don’t want to.

Physical examples include:

  • Unwanted kissing, touching or rough sexual activity
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Refusing to use, or restricting access to, birth control
  • Using sexual insults towards someone

Sexual abuse also includes non-physical acts such as sending obscene messages, encouraging inappropriate online conversations and sharing pornographic materials.


Sexual abuse continued – what is consent?

If a person agrees to take part in a sexual activity by choice and they have the freedom and capacity to make their own decisions, that is deemed consent.

Points to note:

  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time if she changes her mind
  • She can refuse to give consent even if she have consented previously
  • It should not be assumed that consent is given if a person is unable to give it, for example if they have used drugs or consumed alcohol


Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is sometimes referred to as psychological abuse. It occurs when someone threatens, insults, humiliates, intimidates, isolates or stalks another person.

Examples include:

  • Calling her names and putting her down
  • Shouting at her
  • Embarrassing her in front of people
  • Controlling who she sees, where she goes and what she wears
  • Making her feel guilty
  • Threatening to harm her, her pets or children 


Coercive control

Coercive control happens when someone intimidates, degrades, isolates or controls another person with the threat of physical or sexual violence.

Examples include:

  • Making unreasonable demands
  • Restricting activities
  • Monitoring her time and/or phone
  • Depriving her of food
  • Breaking or destroying her property


Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs when someone controls someone’s possessions or how they spend and earn money. 

It is often subtle and includes: 

  • Forcing her to share bank accounts or insisting on access to her personal accounts 
  • Giving her an allowance and monitoring what she buys. Sometimes the allowance may not cover essentials such as rent, medicines, clothes and food
  • Denying her access to money she’s earned
  • Forcing her to go to work, or limiting or preventing her from working
  • Spending her money or using her credit cards without permission 


Take the quiz below to test your understanding of this section of the course. You can restart the quiz any number of times.




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How many women are estimated to be a victim of domestic abuse and violence in their lifetime?

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Pushing or pulling someone is an example of what type of domestic abuse?

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Consent can be withdrawn at any time if someone changes their mind, even if they have consented previously, true or false?

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