(An adult is defined as any person aged 18 years or over. Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily).

Whatever form it takes, domestic violence is rarely a one-off incident, and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. Domestic violence occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography. The figures show, however, that it consists mainly of violence by men against women. Children are also affected. Not only are many traumatised by what they witness, there is also a strong connection between domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse.

Domestic violence has been steadily ascending the political agenda and has been recognised as a cross-government priority. The Home Office is working closely with other central Government departments, regional Government and local partnerships, particularly those responsible for crime and disorder, to ensure an effective, multi-agency response to domestic violence.

Progress on domestic violence since 1997: