Change in Definition of Domestic Violence

Change in Definition of Domestic Violence

On 19 September 2012, following a public consultation, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Government would be extending the definition of domestic violence so that young people aged 16 and 17 would be included. The change is being introduced to increase awareness that young people from this age group do experience domestic violence and abuse.

The changes would include adding ‘coercive control' within the definition. Coercive control can be when one partner uses manipulation or mind games to control the other.

Other forms of emotional abuse can include: being constantly checked up on or being made to feel guilty for seeing your family or friends.

The new definition will be implemented from 31 March 2013

New Definition:
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. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional


*This definition includes so called 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

For more information on this change of definition go to the Home Office website:

View News archive