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Consultation on domestic violence launched

Young people under 18 could be included within the cross-government definition of domestic violence for the first time, under a consultation launched by the Home Secretary Theresa May.


The public, police, charities and practitioners are to be asked their views on whether widening the cross-government definition of domestic violence would provide greater protection and support to victims.


The consultation seeks views on:


  • whether the current cross-government definition of domestic violence, introduced in 2004, is working and should remain;
  • whether ‘coercive control’ should be reflected in the definition; and
  • whether the definition of domestic violence should include younger victims below 18 years of age.


Home Secretary Theresa May said:


'Domestic violence is a particularly dreadful form of abuse that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. We need to ensure we are providing protection and support to all victims.


'Effective prevention and help can only happen when all the agencies involved work together to common goals and a common understanding. It is also vital that victims themselves are clear what constitutes abuse so they seek help early and unnecessary suffering can be avoided by adults and children alike.'


Currently those under 18 years of age are not included in the definition of domestic violence. Domestic violence committed against a person under 18 would be considered child abuse by most services. While this may be appropriate for children experiencing parental or family based violence, there is the suggestion that teenage relationships are more similar to relationships between adults and as such could be considered as an extension of adult domestic violence.


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