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Health and Wellbeing
A Health and Well-being Wales Partner

The UK cross-government’s definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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 abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional.’

Domestic abuse is almost always about one person trying to exert power and control over another. It can happen to anyone irrespective of age, class, race, religion, sexuality, intelligence, income or lifestyle.

The term ‘domestic abuse’ is usually used to describe abuse that takes place between adults who are in – or were once in – an intimate or sexual relationship.

However, abuse can occur in other relationships, for example, between siblings, half- and step-siblings, and when adult children abuse their parents.

Are you being abused?

Domestic abuse is often difficult to detect; however it’s likely that abuse is taking place if the other person is:

  • behaving in a jealous or controlling way
  • physically hurting you or threatening to hurt you
  • saying or doing things of a sexual nature that make you feel bad
  • isolating you from family and friends
  • keeping tight control over the household finances

Check out these Warning Signs and Red Flags to help you to decide if you should consider their behaviour to be domestic abuse.

And remember, if your partner or someone else is abusive towards you, it is not your fault, no matter what they say.

Safeguarding children from domestic abuse

Children who live in a home where domestic violence and abuse occur will almost certainly be adversely affected by what they witness or hear.

If you have children and remain in an abusive relationship, there may be child protection issues. Allowing children to witness domestic abuse is a form of child abuse.


If you are experiencing domestic abuse, there are organisations which offer emotional and practical support, including Women’s Aid and Dyn Wales.

If you need support – or want to get help for the victim or a child living in the home – contact your council’s Local Safeguarding Team.

In an emergency, always call 999.

Last updated: 27/02/2023