Offence Category Definitions

The questions asked in the CSEW domestic abuse surveys are illustrated by that given in blue text below (for partner abuse excluding sexual abuse and stalking).

Thinking about ANY relationships you have had since you were 16, has any PARTNER ever done any of the following things to you? By partner, we mean any boyfriend or girlfriend, as well as a husband or wife.


  1. Prevented you from having your fair share of the household money
  2. Stopped you from seeing friends and relatives
  3. Repeatedly belittled you to the extent that you felt worthless
  4. Frightened you, by threatening to hurt you or someone close to you
  5. Pushed you, held you down or slapped you
  6. Kicked, bit, or hit you with a fist or something else, or threw something at you
  7. Choked or tried to strangle you
  8. Threatened you with a weapon, for example a stick or a knife
  9. Threatened to kill you
  10. Used a weapon against you, for example a stick or a knife
  11. Used some other kind of force against you
  12. None of these
  13. Have never had a partner / been in a relationship
  14. Don’t know/can’t remember
  15. Don’t wish to answer

An affirmative answer to any of questions 1 to 4 is referred to as “emotional/financial” abuse.

Two sub-categories of “force” are defined,

  • Minor force is defined as an affirmative response to question 5 “pushed you, held you down or slapped you”. It is noteworthy that “held you down” may be an act of self-defence by the person being categorised here as the aggressor. Consequently the category of “minor force” may be more misleading than indicative.
  • Severe force is defined as an affirmative answer to any of questions 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11, i.e., any instance of being kicked, hit, bitten, choked, strangled, threatened with a weapon, threats to kill, use of a weapon or some other kind of force. Note that this includes threats, so “severe force” may not imply any physical force at all.

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