This article charts the development of domestic abuse policy between May 2010 and June 2011, a period in which: the UK witnessed a high profile domestic abuse case - that of Raoul Moat - pass almost without recognition as such; whilst the dismantling of much of the infrastructure used to prevent domestic abuse outside the criminal justice system commenced, in anticipation of cost-cutting reform designated necessary to the advent of the 'Big Society'. The article uses both the research literature on domestic abuse and the case of Raoul Moat to argue that preventative work in this field needs to keep issues of gender - especially masculinity - in the political frame. This focus on masculinity should not, however, be reduced merely to attitudes accepting of violence or macho values, but should, the article argues, also keep the relationships between violence, emotional dependency, heterosexual propriety, and life crises in view. The article queries whether the Coalition government's focus on 'payback', 'discipline' in schools and the 'sexualization of children' is likely to help more than hinder in this regard, and points to the real risks entailed in economic restructuring that increases the proportion of women and children vulnerable to repeat victimization. © The Author(s) 2012.