Wives, husbands, partners, children – all can be victims of the violence that erupts in the privacy of the family home.
When police forces across Britain decided to find out how much domestic violence there was in the UK, they chose a single day in September, did a study on incidents reported that – and got a tremendous shock.
“Using the survey … we could say that an Incident of domestic violence occurs in the UK every six to 20seconds,” reported London University’s Professor Betsy Stanko, who analysed the results.
On the day of the survey, police received 1,300 callsrelating to domestic violence -which suggests a staggering 570,000 calls a year. Most calls related to attacks on women and included beating, kicking, stabbing, slashing and rape. Half the incidents were witnessed by children. Men were the victims in ten per cent of the cases – eight per cent of the men were attacked by their female partners.
Refuge, the charity which provides support to victims of abuse, described domestic violence as “an epidemic of staggering proportions.”
Although the findings follow a big push by police to encourage women to report violence in the home, experts think that only one victim out of three actually does contact the police – making the true picture of domestic terrorism more horrific still.
The UK Home Office produces a leaflet called Break the Chain, to help victims of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence is defined as “controlling behaviour (which) includes all kinds of physical, sexual and emotional abuse within all kinds of intiamte relationships.”
The leaflet adds, “Domestic violence is rarelt a one-off event. Physical and sexual abuse tends to increase in frequency and severity over time, sometimes only ending when one person actually kills the other. Other forms of abusive behaviour may be ongoing. This chain of events needs to be broken.”
They advise that if you are in a violent relationship there are three steps you can take:
Locally, support will be available from the police and your GP. Failing this, there are national agencies who can assist in various ways:
08457 023 468 Women’s Aid National Domestic Violence Helpline
0990 995 443 Refuge 24-Hour National Crisis Line
0208 644 9914 Men’s Advice Line and Enquiries
0845 30 30 900 Victim Support
0808 800 4444 Shelterline
08457 90 90 90 The Samaritans
0800 800 500 National Child Protection Helpline (NSPCC)
020 8 514 1177 Careline
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