Domestic Abuse


What Is Domestic Abuse?

Since April 2013, Domestic Abuse has been defined by the Government as:

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

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

Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. Typically the abuse involves a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, which tends to get worse over time. The abuse can begin at any time, in the first year, or after many years of life together. It may begin, continue, or escalate after a couple have separated and may take place not only in the home but also in a public place.

Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography.

Domestic Homicide Reviews

Domestic Homicide reviews (DHRs) were established on a statutory basis under section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and came into force on 13 April 2011.

The purpose of DHRs is to consider the circumstances that led to the death and to identify where responses to the situation could be improved in the future. Lessons learned from the reviews will help agencies to improve their response to domestic abuse and to work better together to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.

The Home Office has published  statutory guidance (pdf, 392kb)(opens in a new window) on how to complete DHRs. The SaferMK Partnership has developed a local process based on the guidance.

For further information and published DHRs please click here

MK Act




MK Act is a charity in Milton Keynes which works with over 100 families’ everyday to help them move on from fear and abuse. We have been providing safe emergency accommodation in Milton Keynes for women and their children escaping domestic violence for over 30 years.

Please note calls are low cost and in confidence. For support or to discuss your options call:

Helpline: 0344 375 4307
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

0808 2000247 National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hours)

If you feel at risk don’t be afraid to call the police: 999

MK Act offers:

  • Accommodation and Follow-up Services
  • Emergency refuge accommodation for 28 families
  • Specialist support for children in the accommodation service
  • Volunteer counseling service in the refuge

Crisis Intervention Service: a single point of referral which ensure clients tell their story only once.

Specialist advisors offer information as well as emotional support, access to health, housing and legal advice and further support from other parts of the service.

IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) Service offers specialist court support. A local charity that provides quality support services to families experiencing domestic abuse.