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Abuse definition widens
The Home Office has announced that it's widening the cross-government definition of domestic violence, to take into account psychological factors, and to include young people aged 16 and 17, who were previously excluded.
The new definition of 'domestic violence and abuse', coming into effect from March next year, now includes: '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 and emotional.'
The change comes after a consultation of local authorities and voluntary sector support groups on whether the definition used by government departments should be widened. Although the definition is not statutory, it's hoped it will help raise awareness of abuse within relationships, and make it easier for victims to seek help. The age range to which the definition applies has been lowered based on evidence that the experiences of many older teens are more akin to the domestic abuse suffered by adult victims, than to child abuse per se.
In related news, the Centre for Social Justice has published a new report Beyond Violence: Breaking Cycles of Domestic Abuse, co-authored by Chartered Psychologist Elly Farmer (NSPCC) and Samantha Callan. Among their many recommendations, Farmer and Callan suggest introducing into the curriculum a module for adolescents on how to 'build equal and non-abusive relationships', and offering early help to children living in a household with domestic abuse, even if no mental health symptoms are yet apparent.
Edited: 29/10/2012 at 02:29 PM by jonsut
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