For those interested it might be helpful to know how the definition stands right now.
The Government defines domestic violence as "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called ''honour killings''.
I will probably be pilloried for saying this, but this definition is wide enough to cover a whole range of possible behaviours.
Some with long memories will remember the days of '' ouster orders '' which were applied for, usually by wives, as a matter of routine, and more often than not, granted.
I accept that on occasions it is fully justified to evict a violent or aggressive spouse, but I hope that such orders are made only for substantial reasons. The provisions are already there, they''re just called occupation orders.
The consultation seems to be should the definition be added too, personally i think no, if anything its too wide as it is, should coercive behaviour be included, how would it even be defined, would it help? i think not.
What would be a more useful debate is how to define domestic violence, my old fashioned view is that DV is a physical assault, what i can`t understand is how a spouse who punches bites or kicks their spouse is accused of DV and the same goes for a spouse who cuts up the others credit card, how can they both be domestic violence.
Well, I think domestic violence involves something physical, like kicking or punching a spouse, and obviously has to be condemned.
Matters like constant putting down or demeaning and destroying the other''s self respect are potentially domestic abuse but I can''t see that such behaviour can reasonably classified as violence. The latter, of course, is much easier to prove.
What worries me is an increasing tendency to define offensive or abusive behaviour by reference to the perception of the '' victim '' rather than by reference to objective criteria.
Words and actions which on the face of it are not insulting or objectionable, do not ( IMHO ) become criminal just because someone is hypersensitive or easily offended or because of cultural differences of which the '' perpetrator '' may not be aware. It is all too easy, unfortunately, to hurt or insult someone without meaning to.
I think psychological abuse should be taken as seriously as physical violence. Clearly there is a difference between someone who is tired or stressed who loses control and does or says something they regret in an isolated incident and psychological abuse which causes mental injury. The ramifications of serious emotional harm can be just as damaging as physical harm eg shell shock.
The Children Act 1989 states that abuse should be considered to have happened when someone''s actions have caused a child to suffer significant harm to their health and I don''t see why the same can''t be applied to adults. Psychological abuse is included in the International Classification of Diseases so there is a generally agreed objective criteria.