Domestic abuse (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)


Executive Summary

The key findings from this JSNAA are summarised below:

  • In domestic abuse incidents reported in South Tyneside 75% involve females and 25% males as the victim
  • 3% of all reported incidents involve a victim from minority ethnic communities
  • 2% of all reported incidents involved 16-17-year-old victims
  • 12% of all incidents reported involved victims over the age of 55 yrs
  • 77% of incidents reported involved a partner or ex-partner
  • 45% of incidents reported involved children who were present or witnessed the abuse
  • The highest proportion of incidents reported were in people living in the top 20% most deprived wards
  • South Tyneside has 19 prolific offenders the Harm Reduction unit are involved with who are involved in a high number of incidents
  • Alcohol is recorded in 56% of all reported incidents

Domestic abuse is persistent and widespread. It affects women, men and children of all ages, regardless of sexuality, ability or economic circumstance. Domestic abuse affects all family members, directly related, in-laws or step family. 

Domestic abuse occurs on a significant scale and is acknowledged to reflect inequalities of power between genders, with violence against women and girls culturally embedded in different societal groups. This can include forms of family violence for example, cyclical inter-generational violence in families; forced marriage.

Honour based violence (HBV) can be described as a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and / or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code. CPS: Honor based violence and forced marriage

Domestic abuse can have a significant impact on women/ men's safety, wellbeing, confidence and housing situation.  It also negatively affects children who witness domestic abuse or violence.  Domestic abuse is the most common factor in situations where children are at risk of serious harm in England (Characteristics of children in need 2016-17, Department of Education and Skills) and can have a detrimental and long-lasting impact on a child's health, development, ability to learn and well-being. The definition of "harm to a child" includes "impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another" (Children Act 1989 as extended by the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (section 120)). Children who are harmed through witnessing domestic abuse or violence at home can therefore be in need of help and protection.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Domestic abuse is defined in section 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, and when referenced throughout the guidance should be interpreted as such. As set out in the Act, Domestic Abuse is defined as:

(1) Behaviour of a person ("A") towards another person ("B") is "domestic abuse" if a. A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and b. The behaviour is abusive.

(2) Behaviour is "abusive" if it consists of any of the following: a. Physical or sexual abuse. b. Violent or threatening behaviour c. Controlling or coercive behaviour. d. Economic abuse (see subsection (4)). e. Psychological, emotional, or other abuse. And it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

(3) "Economic abuse" means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on B's ability to a. Acquire, use, or maintain money or other property, or b. Obtain goods or services.

(4) For the purposes of this Part A's behaviour may be behaviour "towards" B despite the fact that it consists of conduct directed at another person (for example, B's child).

(5) References in this Part to being abusive towards another person are to be read in accordance with this section.

Defining Domestic Abuse

The Home Office definition of domestic abuse is "any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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 abuse can encompass but is not limited to: psychological; physical; sexual; financial; and emotional." (Information for Local Area on the definition of Domestic Violence and Abuse, Home Office, March 2013)

This includes controlling and coercive behaviours.  Controlling behaviour is "a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour." (Children Act 1989 as extended by the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (section 120))

Coercive behaviour is "an act or pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim." (Children Act 1989 as extended by the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (section 120)) Under the Serious Crime Act 2015 (section 76); a new offence of 'controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate family relationship' came into force in December 2015.

Domestic Abuse is not an isolated issue and will often feature many other cross cutting issues such as substance misuse, mental health, crime, poverty and safeguarding to mention a few. As a result of this issue interfacing with a range of other health and care issue it is important to also cross reference to the JSNAA topics for those subjects listed below.

Related JSNAA topics:

  • Poverty & child poverty
  • Children in Need of Help and Protection
  • Looked After Children
  • Adult Safeguarding
  • Early Help
  • Mental Health
  • Alcohol
  • Substance misuse
  • Sexual health
  • Offenders
  • Economy and Employment
  • Education and Skills