Domestic abuse describes a continuum of behaviour ranging from verbal abuse, threats and intimidation, manipulative behaviour, physical and sexual assault, through to rape and homicide.
It is a complex issue that all health care professionals should have some understanding about. They should be aware of who is affected, how individual victims may present in differing health care settings, how the subject could be approached, and most importantly what professionals can do to help and support victims of abuse.
The term Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is also often used interchangeably with domestic abuse, as a collective term used to describe domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking. The term domestic abuse has been used throughout this resource which discusses all types of abuse within a domestic setting and not just between partners or ex partners.
In April 2021 the new Domestic Abuse Bill, which will lead to the creation of new Statutory guidance. For more information, see: Domestic Abuse Act: Factsheet (Home Office in the media).
In May 2020 the RCN signed a collaborative letter in support of the reintroduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill and the Government’s ambition to transform the national response to this public health epidemic - an epidemic which has heightened during the current pandemic.