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Domestic abuse

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Domestic abuse is the misconduct of people against other people with whom they have a domiciliary relationship. They will have lived in the same dwelling but might not do any more, yet the abuse is a direct result of having lived in the same dwelling. There could be any kind of familial relationship between the people involved, or none at all.

There are varied concepts of domestic abuse from nation to nation, year to year, and often dependent upon the context.[1] Domestic abuse is a range of behaviours including physical, sexual and emotional factors. It is generally accepted as including

  • intimidation and threats;
  • belittling and other forms of mental abuse;
  • both physical and verbal forms of wrongdoing;
  • sexual abuse;
  • financial over-control;
  • limitation on movement (imprisonment).[2]

Normally, a pattern of domestic abuse will have more than one of these elements.

Domestic abuse includes domestic violence, which - when women are the victim - the United Nations describes as any act of 'gender-based' violence that results in, or is likely to result in

  • physical,
  • sexual or
  • psychological harm or suffering

including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.[3] (The United Nations, being a feminist organisation, does not have a definition for domestic violence against men.)

There are Wikipedia pages which cover different types of abuse in more detail. This page provides an overview, with links them as appropriate.


(NB this summary will be completed when the whole page is ready)

The overall picture is that, taken together, abuse is widespread and not confined to any sex, gender, or cultural group etc. The term 'gender-based violence' is misleading since very little domestic abuse occurs because of a dislike of the gender being attacked, indeed the attacker is often living with them because they have an affinity for that gender.

Sources of evidence

Problems with the evidence

  1. The majority of statistical evidence on the subject is from Western countries.
  2. There is a great deal of money involved in the domestic violence industry. It is in the interests of this industry to perpetuate domestic violence while seeming to want to end it, and therefore to corrupt public perception in line with their income stream (see Income below).
  3. With the exception of the USA, there is little comparative study done on race, religion, age or ethnic background. Comparisons on wealth, sex and sexual orientation are more common but not frequent. This leads to a poor understanding of social forces that may be at work within the domestic sphere.
  4. The majority of studies of domestic abuse look only at female victims. For example Partner Abuse Worldwide (2013)[4] looks at Domestic Abuse studies outside EU/US (English speaking developed nations. Only 73 out of 200 studies included both male and female victims. There are very few studies, globally, of domestic abuse that look only at male victims. The gynocentric nature of politicians around the world supports this.[5]
  5. It is easy to 'cherry pick' evidence which supports a statement. This usually involves choosing parts of, or quotations from, single studies which fit the narrative. The best reliance is upon secondary sources which combine evidence from several sources (see 'Combined results' below).

Combined results

There are two main ways to combine the results from a range of studies to avoid bias (and reduce 'cherry picking'): research reviews and meta-analyses.

  • A research review (systematic review) summarises the evidence available.
  • A meta-analysis uses statistics to combine the results of the review.


2 Throughout use the focus on children by using 'boys and girls'.

Violent people are violent! Domestic abuse is not in isolation from other violence.


This definition has been generated by combining a number of others. There is wide agreement between the sources:

Quote: «Domestic abuse is abuse of one person by another person with whom they are living, have lived, or with whom a significant relationship exists.

The term 'abuse' covers a number of different harmful actions including: verbal, sexual, financial, physical (domestic violence) or psychological abuse, and includes emotional unavailability and controlling and coercive behaviour.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

This definition includes so called 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage

Abusive behaviour cuts across all racial, ethnic, educational, and socioeconomic boundaries.»[6]

Bidirectional - victim/perpetrator

Domestic abuse is often presented as one victim and one perpetrator. However, little abuse is one-sided. Most abuse has a history of escalation and joint participation: it is bidirectional.

There are cases of domestic abuse where there are multiple perpetrators in the home against a single victim, some cases where there are multiple victims to an overbearing perpetrator, and some cases where there are multiple perpetrators and multiple victims - particularly along race, age or sex divisions. In many instances, these cases also involve bidirectional abuse.

General bias: If gender neutral scenario related and listeners asked for gender of victim, more asume female. If words victim and perpetrator are used (instead of persan A, person B), then even more asume female.

The victim/perpetrator model focuses on the two adults, however, Children are the main victims of abuse... Effects on mental health.

Types of Abuse

General observations

To effectively study, legislate and fund, domestic abuse is usually split into various categories of abuse. This process can leave a novice with the assumption that the categories are separate. In reality, domestic abuse is often multi-faceted and rarely does one category appear on its own. Physical and financial abuse have emotional consequences.


Domestic Violence

Grades of violence from mild to severe. Examples of these (from slapping to penectomy to death)

Charts or mentions of severity of effect between cultures, between sexes and between ages.

Prevalence of weapon use.

Deaths from domestic violence are a small proportion of overall domestic abuse. Direct homicides are usually of women killed by their male partners. Indirect deaths, such as those committing suicide because of the domesitc abuse they recieve, are mostly of men in a heterosexual relationship.[7]

Sexual abuse

In this Domestic abuse article, important information is missing. You may help WikiMANNia by investigating the content and inserting it, or informing us.



In this Domestic abuse article, important information is missing. You may help WikiMANNia by investigating the content and inserting it, or informing us.

Implied threats

Harassment and stalking

Verbal abuse


Online or digital

Financial abuse

In this Domestic abuse article, important information is missing. You may help WikiMANNia by investigating the content and inserting it, or informing us.


In this Domestic abuse article, important information is missing. You may help WikiMANNia by investigating the content and inserting it, or informing us.

(Basic statistics…)

[9] Hetero and same-sex relationships

(If DA against men is ignored, then we are perpetuating DA as children will be raised in DA household and see this as normal behaviour.)

Cultural differences


In this Domestic abuse article, important information is missing. You may help WikiMANNia by investigating the content and inserting it, or informing us.

Reporting differences

In this Domestic abuse article, important information is missing. You may help WikiMANNia by investigating the content and inserting it, or informing us.

Influencing factors

WHO report

Risk factors for both intimate partner and sexual violence include:

  • lower levels of education (perpetration of sexual violence and experience of sexual violence);
  • a history of exposure to child maltreatment (perpetration and experience);
  • witnessing family violence (perpetration and experience);
  • antisocial personality disorder (perpetration);
  • harmful use of alcohol (perpetration and experience);
  • having multiple partners or suspected by their partners of infidelity (perpetration);
  • attitudes that condone violence (perpetration);
  • community norms that privilege or ascribe higher status to men and lower status to women; and
  • low levels of women's access to paid employment.

Factors specifically associated with intimate partner violence include:

  • past history of violence
  • marital discord and dissatisfaction
  • difficulties in communicating between partners
  • male controlling behaviors towards their partners.

Factors specifically associated with sexual violence perpetration include:

  • beliefs in family honour and sexual purity
  • ideologies of male sexual entitlement
  • weak legal sanctions for sexual violence.

Gender inequality and norms on the acceptability of violence against women are a root cause of violence against women.


The existence of domestic abuse has created an industry which purports to help victims, or to curtail it from happening. Many developed nations have domestic abuse shelters, though almost all of them are only for women who claim to be victims, with or without their children.

Income streams often rely on the discredited Duluth model of domestic violence.[11]


In most nations at least some aspects of domestic abuse are illegal. In many undeveloped nations, where law is less codified, the equivalent social expectations and pressure make most aspects illegal.

However, domestic abuse laws are rarely gender-neutral, and where they are, they are rarely applied in a gender-neutral manner.


  1. 'Enhancing Safety' Part 5: Differing Understandings of the Nature of Domestic Violence, Department of Justice,
  2. What is domestic abuse?, Metropolitan Police UK,
  3. Integrating Poverty and Gender into Health Programmes, World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific
  4. Partner Abuse Worldwide, ResearchGate, January 2013
  5. 'Considering the Male Disposability Hypothesis', Quillette, 2019 [accessed 7 June 2019] "The genocide in Rwanda is a far-reaching tragedy that has taken a particularly hard toll on women. They now comprise 70 percent of the population, since the genocide chiefly exterminated the male population."
  6. Medical Dictionary
  7. Davis, Richard, 'Domestic Violence‐related Deaths', Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2.2 (2010), 44-52 <>
  8. Hall, Jeffrey E., Mikel L. Walters, and Kathleen C. Basile, 'Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration by Court-Ordered Men: Distinctions Among Subtypes of Physical Violence, Sexual Violence, Psychological Abuse, and Stalking', JOURNAL OF INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE, 27 (2012), 1374-95 <>
  9. Capaldi, Deborah M., Naomi B. Knoble, Joann Wu Shortt, and Hyoun K. Kim, 'A Systematic Review of Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence', Partner Abuse, 3 (2012), 231-80 <>
  10. Straus, M.A., 'Trends in Cultural Norms and Rates of Partner Violence: An Update to 1992. In S. M. Stich & M. A. Straus (Eds.)', in Understanding Partner Violence: Prevalence, Causes, Consequences, and Solutions (Minneapolis, MN, USA: National Council on Family Relations), pp. 30-33
  11. Cantos, Arthur L., and K. Daniel O’Leary, ‘One Size Does Not Fit All in Treatment of Intimate Partner Violence.’, Partner Abuse, 5 (2014), 204-36 <>

See also