Domestic abuse

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 brings in for the first time a legal definition of domestic abuse. Section 1 of the Act applies to the definition.

The behaviour of one person towards another person is “domestic abuse” if both people are aged over 16 years old and are personally connected to each other and 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

And it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

Domestic abuse behaviours

Domestic abuse doesn’t always mean physical violence; it could be:

  • Being forced into doing something sexually that you don’t want to do by a partner or ex-partner.
  • Use of weapons, damage to property, physical abuse to children and animals. Threats to harm the non-abusive person, children, animals. Threats to portray the non-abusive person in a bad light to others and removal of children.
  • Isolating an individual from others. Controlling what they wear, who they see, where they can go. Coercive control is now an offence under Part 5, S76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
  • Preventing a person from acquiring money in their own right, restricting how a person uses their money or resources. Making a person pay all the bills, taking out loans in their name. Controlling all the household money.
  • Name-calling, being constantly criticised, stalking.

Report domestic abuse

Whether you are a victim, witness or reporting on behalf of someone else, you can contact the Police at any time.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger always dial 999.

For non-emergencies call the Police on 101 or report it online.

Bedford Borough strategy to address and reduce domestic abuse

Local and national support and advice

If you are a survivor of domestic abuse, a current victim or a professional working in this area, there are services throughout Bedfordshire to help you.

Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership (BDAP) is a partnership of key agencies from across Bedfordshire (voluntary services, charities, third sector organisations and statutory organisations) who have committed to work together to:

  • protect victims and those affected by domestic abuse
  • prevent domestic abuse from happening
  • raise awareness amongst the community