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Domestic abuse is the actual or threatened physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse of a woman by a partner, family member or someone with whom there is, or has been, a close relationship. This abuse also relates to the perpetrator allowing or causing a child to witness, or be at risk of witnessing, domestic abuse.

Welsh Women's Aid support the UN Violence Against Women definition of domestic abuse

It starts with screams and must never end in silence. 12% to 15% of European women over 16 have suffered domestic abuse in a relationship – too many have died. Many more continue to suffer physical and sexual violence from former partners, even after the break-up. It's time to find a way out!

Council of Europe

What is domestic abuse?

Welsh Women’s Aid define domestic abuse as "the actual or threatened physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse of a woman by a partner, family member or someone with whom there is, or has been, a close relationship. This abuse also relates to the perpetrator allowing or causing a child to witness, or be at risk of witnessing, domestic abuse."

Domestic abuse essentially involves the misuse of power and exercise of control by one person over another with whom there is or has been a close relationship.

Domestic abuse occurs irrespective of gender, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, mental ability, physical ability, income, lifestyle or geographical area of residence.

Statistics show that 97% of reported incidences of domestic abuse are perpetrated by men against women. However, Welsh Women's Aid recognises that domestic abuse can occur within same sex relationships and that, in a very small number of cases, women are the perpetrators of abuse.

Research has shown that 22% of lesbian and bisexual women have experienced domestic abuse, but that it is even less likely to be reported from this group. Women's Aid groups are committed to supporting all female victims of domestic abuse.

You can see Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Abuse on the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline website.

There are many different forms of domestic abuse but they fall mainly into 4 categories. These are:

For more information about abuse, you can visit the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline website