Graphic Logo for COSC depicting a harp and text

The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. What is Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?


The Report of the Task Force on Violence against Women defines Domestic Violence as follows:


Domestic Violence refers to the use of physical or emotional force or threat of physical force, including sexual violence in close adult relationships. This includes violence perpetrated by a spouse, partner, son or daughter or any other person who has a close or blood relationship with the victim. The term ‘domestic violence’ goes beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve emotional abuse; the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone.


Domestic violence is a major issue that profoundly affects the physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing of individuals and families. It is perpetrated against a person by that person’s spouse, intimate partner, ex-partner, other family members and/or another person at home. Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event, but rather a pattern of repeated abusive and controlling behaviours that take place within an intimate or family-type relationship and may even continue after the relationship has ended.


Examples of domestic violence experienced by victims in its varying forms include:
1. Direct assault on the body; hitting; slapping; biting; choking; shoving; punching; mutilation; burns; throwing of objects; use of weapons etc.
2. Emotional or Psychological Violence / Abuse: humiliation; bullying; threatening to hurt children; exploitation; intimidation; psychological degradation; verbal aggression; undermining of self-esteem; name calling;  continual "put downs" etc.
3. Economic Violence / Abuse: economic blackmail; complete control of all monies and bank accounts; denial of access to necessary funds; preventing the victim from working etc.
4. Sexual Violence / Abuse: any form of sexual coercion (physical or emotional) or sexual degradation against an individual in the family or domestic unit; incest; rape between spouses, cohabitants, partners or ex-partners; sexual activity without consent; unwanted touching; causing pain during sex etc.
5. Social Violence / Abuse: systematic isolation from family and friends; forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people etc.