Domestic violence is a serious crime in the United Kingdom. What are the underlying causes of such crime? How might they best be tackled?

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Many people are not sure of the definition of domestic violence; the official Home Affairs Select Committee Report defines it as "any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse which takes place within the context of a close relationship. In most cases, the relationship will be between partners (married, cohabiting) or ex-partners".

In most cases the abuser is male as stated by the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC), but this is not always the case, it is of course the most common but domestic violence can also be the woman as the abuser and the male the victim or children can also be victims and/or the abusers.

But on the whole the government recognises that women at some point in their lives experience some form of domestic violence or victimisation and have been injured and had to seek medical treatment due to their injuries. In the majority of cases, continued threats by the abuser causes the victim to stay put and be too frightened to speak up.

It has also been recognised that domestic violence can affect all walks of life from the upper class to those not so fortunate. Domestic abuse is not always about physical assault but also sexual abuse, rape, intimidation and threats both leading to mental abuse, which is considered a criminal offence. This type of physical violence can lead to other forms of intimidation which may include degradation, mental and verbal abuse, humiliation and deprivation leaving them isolated and without money, and constant belittling and criticism. This can continue for many years, intensifying until the victim is too terrified to say or do anything to set the abuser off. Long term effects of domestic violence are usually low self-esteem, guilt, shame, depression and stress.

A new definition of domestic violence as of April 1999 for...