The term ‘abuse’ can be subject to wide interpretation. The following Government definition helps to explain what domestic abuse is:
‘Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons’. Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent.
Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. Abuse may be perpetrated as the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.'
Significant harm could include physical harm or sexual abuse, as well as harm that affects mental health, or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.