Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is a unique crime type. Whilst it is common, it is often hidden and therefore difficult to quantify.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 creates a statutory definition of domestic abuse and recognises children and young people as victims. 

Behaviour of a person towards another person is ‘domestic abuse’ if -

  1. Both persons are each aged 16 years or over and

are personally connected to each other,


  1. the behaviour is ‘abusive’.

Behaviour is ‘abusive’ if it consists of any of the following:

  • physical or sexual abuse;
  • violent or threatening behaviour;
  • controlling or coercive behaviour;
  • economic abuse;
  • psychological, emotional or other abuse;

It is important to remember that each person’s experience of domestic abuse will be different, it can encompass a wide range of behaviours and it can involve a single incident or a course of conduct. 

Children and young people (under the age of 18 years) are deemed to be victims as a result of seeing, hearing or otherwise experiencing domestic abuse between two people where the child is related to at least one of them whether that be the victim or perpetrator.

The types of abuse can differ in nature, dynamics and impact; therefore, it is important to recognise the forms of abuse:

  • Intimate partner abuse (current and former)
  • Abuse by family members
  • Teenage Relationship Abuse
  • Child-to-Parent Abuse

Who is vulnerable to Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, disability, gender identity, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Domestic abuse can also manifest itself in specific ways within different communities.

Learning & Development Resources

The following pages provide information and resources aimed at supporting practitioners who are working with victims or children and young people who may be at risk of domestic abuse.

If you work with victims of domestic abuse or violence you find resources, training and advice Leeds City Council for practitioners.

The Leeds Domestic Violence Service website contains details of local services.

Team briefings have been developed to encourage discussions and reflection on a variety of safeguarding subjects within teams.
Practitioners can also improve their practice with our Learning from Reviews.


Introduction to Domestic Violence & Abuse training is available by emailing your request to Safer Stronger Leeds.

Briefings are also available via the LSCP on Child to Parent Abuse and Teenage Interpersonal Relationship Abuse.

Online training is also available from IDAS. IDAS is the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Online training available through SOLACE. Solace Women’s Aid exists to end the harm done through Violence Against Women and Girls.

The following pre-recorded webinars are also available to view from the YHMAST (Yorkshire & Humber Multi-Agency Safeguarding Trainers) Domestic Abuse Month in October 2021:

Working with Domestic Abuse: Engaging Men, Women and Families in Change by Brid Featherstone, University of Huddersfield & Alicia Lee, Manager of the Domestic Abuse Navigator Team, Doncaster Safeguarding Children’s Trust

Brid Featherstone and Alicia Lee discuss engaging men, women and families in domestic abuse work. Brid gives a research-based rationale for avoiding the ‘single story’ and hearing the narrative of the different presentations, meanings and impact of domestic abuse across the intersections of society. Alicia Lee talks about her experience of applying this in whole family working in the domestic abuse sector in Doncaster.

Children’s Experiences of Domestic Abuse by Professor Jane Callaghan, Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection, University of Stirling. Professor Jane Callaghan gives a children’s perspectives of domestic abuse. One of her messages is that we should understand that children should not be viewed as passive; they experience the abuse, rather than being ‘exposed to’ or ‘witnessing’ it; they also take action to limit the harm to their personhood from the abuse.

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