Definition of ‘Domestic Abuse’ Introduced

Debra Frazer

 Definition of ‘domestic abuse’ introduced

 “Family Law Partner, Debra Frazer sets out the long-awaited legal definition of ‘domestic abuse’ which has been introduced in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. It states:-

Behaviour by 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:

  1. physical or sexual abuse;
  2. violent or threatening behaviour;
  3. controlling or coercive behaviour;
  4. economic abuse;
  5. psychological, emotional or other abuse

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

The Act also introduces other provisions including the appointment of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner, providing protection for witnesses in legal proceedings which will mean that victims of domestic abuse cannot be cross-examined by the alleged perpetrator, as well as legally recognising that children can also be victims of domestic abuse if they are related to a victim of domestic abuse and see, hear or experience the effects of domestic abuse. The Act is being implemented on a phased basis over the next two years.

Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors has a team of family law specialists who can assist in relation to all aspect of family law. If you require legal advice about any of the points above please do not hesitate to contact one of the following:-

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