What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender.
It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want.Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.
Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.
The Power & Control Wheel that was developed by Domestic Abuse Program in Duluth, Minneapolisdescribes most accurately what occurs in an abusive relationship.

Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics your abusive partner uses to keep you in the relationship.
While the inside of the wheel is comprised of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other subtler methods of abuse.

What exactly do we mean by healthy relationships?Who in the relationship decides what is healthy and what is not?

Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent. COMMUNICATION and BOUNDARIES are the two major components of a healthy relationship. Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not.  If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.


Communication allows you and your partner to have a deep understanding of each other, and allows you to connect. In a healthy relationship with good communication, both partners:

  • Treat each other with respect.
  • Speak openly to one another about thoughts and feelings.
  • Feel heard when expressing feelings.
  • Listen to each other and compromise.
  • Do not criticize each other.
  • Feel supported to do the things they like.
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes.


Each person should express to their partner what they are and are not comfortable with, when it comes to sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space and time. In a healthy relationship with boundaries, both partners:

  • Allow each other to spend time with friends and family.
  • Trust each other and not require their partner to “check in”.
  • Do not pressure the other to do things that they don’t want to do.
  • Do not constantly accuse the other of cheating or being unfaithful.


The Istanbul Convention is the first legally-binding instrument which “creates a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women” and is focused on preventing violence against women and domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting accused offenders.

The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 7th of April 2011 in Istanbul. It is the first international treaty to contain a definition of gender and also defines this specific type of violence: “gender-based violence against women” shall mean violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately. In addition, the convention introduces a set of groundbreaking criminal offences such as forced marriagefemale genital cutting, forced abortion and stalking.

Since today, the convention has been ratified from 23 countries including 14 E.U members. Cyprus signed the Istanbul Convention on 16 June 2015 and on 7 March 2017 the Ministry Council decided, on a proposal from the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, for Cyprus to proceed immediately with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The signing of the convention upgrades the legislative framework for the fight against violence in our country and substantially enhances political actions for eradication of gender discrimination and women empowerment.