What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence does not necessarily mean actual violence but includes a number of other forms of abuse and behaviour between adults who have been or are currently in the same family or a relationship. Domestic violence can include:

  • Assault and Violence
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological or Emotional abuse
  • Threats
  • Controlling behaviour such as blackmail or financial pressure.

What are the sentencing guidelines for domestic violence?

Courts treat Domestic Violence cases as being exceptionally serious and sentences will tend to reflect this. However, the maximum sentence will be determined on a case by case basis. This will depend on a number of aggravating or mitigating factors.

Aggravating factors

  • Abuse of trust and abuse of power or the victim is particularly vulnerable.
  • Steps taken to prevent the victim from reporting an incident getting help.
  • Victim forced to leave home, or steps have to be taken to exclude the offender from the home to ensure the victim’s safety.
  • Impact on children.
  • A proven history of violence or threats by the offender in a domestic context.

Mitigating factors

  • Positive good character However, it is recognised that one of the factors that can allow domestic abuse to continue unnoticed for lengthy periods is the ability of the perpetrator to have a public and a private face.
  • Evidence of genuine recognition of the need for change, and evidence of obtaining help or treatment to affect that change

What should you do if you’ve been charged with Domestic Abuse?

If you or a family member are accused of Domestic abuse, you should seek legal advice immediately. It is vital that you receive the best advice possible and provide as much detail of the facts of your case as you can to ensure the right result for you.

What should you do if you’ve been a victim of Domestic Abuse?

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it’s important to tell someone and remember you’re not alone.

You can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night. The staff will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and support.