Thursday, 7 May 2009

domestic violence

What is domestic violence?
In Women's Aid's view domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

How common is domestic violence?
At least 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and between 1 in 8 and 1 in 10 women experience it annually. Less than half of all incidents are reported to the police, but they still receive one domestic violence call every minute in the UK.

Who are the victims?
The vast majority of the victims of domestic violence are women and children, and women are also considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of violence, and sexual abuse. Women may experience domestic violence regardless of ethnicity, religion, class, age, sexuality, disability or lifestyle. Domestic violence can also occur in a range of relationships including heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships, and also within extended families.

Who are the abusers?
The majority of abusers are men, but in other respects, they vary: abusers come from all walks of life, from any ethnic group, religion, class or neighbourhood, and of any age.

What is the cause of domestic violence?
Abusers choose to behave violently to get what they want and gain control. Their behaviour may originate from a sense of entitlement which is often supported by sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory attitudes.

Why doesn't she leave?
Whilst the risk of staying may be very high, simply leaving the relationship doesn't guarantee that the violence will stop. In fact, the period when a woman is planning or making her exit, is often the most dangerous time for her and her children.

What are the effects of domestic violence on children?
When there are children in the household, the majority witness the violence that is occurring, and in 80% of cases, they are in the same of the next room. In about half of all domestic violence situations, the children are also being directly abused themselves.

Who is responsible for the violence?
The abuser is responsible. They do not have to use violence. They can choose, instead, to behave non-violently and foster a relationship built on trust, honesty, and respect.

What is the cost of domestic violence?
The estimated total cost of domestic violence to society in monetary terms is £23 billion per annum. This figure includes an estimated £3.1 billion as the cost to the state and £1.3 billion as the cost to employers and human suffering cost of £17 billion.

What are the legal rights of domestic abuse victims?
This information can be found under criminal law and civil law. You can also look at the relevant sections of The Survivor's Handbook.

How many women and children use domestic violence services?
On one typical day - 2nd November 2006 - 11,310 women and 8330 children were being supported by domestic violence services in England (both residential and non-residential). This has increased by 50% since 2003. On the same day, 3615 women and 3580 children were being supported within refuge-based services.

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