I. What is domestic violence?

The Department of Justice’s Policy for Prosecuting Cases Involving Domestic Violence refers to “domestic violence” as “a general term which describes a range of behaviour often used by one person to control or dominate another with whom they have, or have had, a close or family relationship. It is often a series of abusive incidents, whether physical or not, that has a cumulative effect on the victim. Domestic violence may be broadly described as any criminal offence which arises out of violence, threatening behaviour or physical, sexual or emotional abuse, between adults who are or have been intimate partners, or else between family members.”

For the purposes of police intervention, domestic violence is described in the Hong Kong Police Force document: Role and Responsibilities of Police Officers Attending Domestic Violence Incidents, as “any incident involving an assault, or breach of the peace between parties who could generally be described as married or having a family relationship” . This “family relationship” also includes co-habitants or lovers, and a relationship between spouses who are separated or divorced.

Domestic violence can involve abusers and victims of either sex, though the majority of abusers are male.