Domestic abuse is any incident physical, emotional and mental abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, and should be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of ethnicity, religion, class, age, sexuality, disability or lifestyle.
It can also occur in a range of relationships including heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships, and also within extended families. The majority of the victims of domestic abuse are women and children, and women are also considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of violence, and sexual abuse.
At least one in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime and one in six men.
Sometimes a family can join together in abusing a victim, or sometimes a victim can be subject to violence by different family members. Sometimes an older child can take on the role of the abuser and physically hurt the parent who is the victim.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999.
The Kent & Medway Domestic Abuse Forum website provides all your local services for victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, both female and male or visit the domestic abuse page on the GOV.UK website.