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Domestic abuse is defined across government 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”. It can encompass physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse. It is estimated to have cost over £66 billion in England and Wales in 2016/17. Figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales reveal that women are more likely to be subject to domestic abuse than men. In the year ending March 2018, an estimated 1.3 million women aged between 16 and 59 experienced domestic abuse, in comparison to 695,000 men.

This House of Lords Library Briefing provides an overview of domestic abuse in the United Kingdom and examines recent government policy on the subject. A selection of key documents and parliamentary materials are identified at the end of the briefing.


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