"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."
The Home Office states further that:
“This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called 'honour based violence', female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.”
This definition does recognise same sex relationships and an adult is defined as any person aged 18 years or over. Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily. Domestic violence is acknowledged as occurring across society regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography.
Some Government agencies and parts of the voluntary sector use slightly different definitions to fit their particular needs.
Crown Prosecution Service definition
The Crown Prosecution Service definition is more extensive:
“Any criminal offence arising out of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse by one person against a current or former partner in a close relationship, or against a current or former family member’”
The CPS further states that:
“In cases involving domestic violence in same sex relationships, victims may fear homophobic reactions from the criminal justice system, as well as being “outed” by the process.”
However, this is the only place where same sex partnerships are mentioned in the policy.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has adopted the definition of domestic violence as recommended by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which has the same wording as the Home Office definition, but includes a wider definition of family members.
“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.”
Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.
The MPS further states that:
“Where domestic violence has occurred, our aim is:
“To investigate the incident and identify, arrest and prosecute the perpetrator. Where a criminal prosecution of a perpetrator is deemed inappropriate, we will identify and pursue alternative courses of action in consultation with our partner agencies to stop the violence and make victims and their children safer.”