Domestic Violence: The Under Reported Crime – Do You Know the Facts?


Domestic violence is often in the spotlight and in the news, but when it comes to the reporting of domestic violence, the figures are still low.

Domestic Violence Words

In 2004, a study done by Professor Sylvia Walby revealed shocking figures that 25% of women and approximately 17% of men will experience one episode of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Recent figures from 2012 reveal an even more disturbing picture.

What Is the Law Doing About Domestic Violence?

The law is trying to make amends for its shortcomings in terms of what counts as domestic violence. Last year, the Home Office definition of domestic violence was changed to include:

  • Young adults from 16 and upwards to protect teenagers in volatile relationships and
  • The use of coercive control

Victims of domestic abuse often reported threatening or controlling behaviour, or feeling coerced, but the law was unable to give them the help they truly needed.

Female victims especially describe controlling and coercive behaviour when reporting domestic abuse. Clare Wood, had previously accused her former partner of threatening behaviour among other things, such as sexual assault and criminal damage. However, when she called them the night he knocked on her door and threatened to kill her it was too late and he strangled her to death and set her on fire.

Now, Clare’s Law hopes to implement a system where those worried about a partner’s previous behaviour can be told about their criminal record.

It is not only violence between heterosexual couples that is fast becoming a problem.

Broken Rainbow UK, a national charity dedicated to highlighting domestic abuse among the LGBT community, have recently commented on a study done in Scotland. It showed that domestic violence among homosexual couples has increased by 6.9% in lesbian couples and 1.21% among gay couples. Broken Rainbow UK have put these figures down to increased reporting and not increased incidents of domestic abuse.

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Men?

Domestic violence is a crime that not only affects women, but is increasingly affecting men in homosexual and heterosexual relationships.

Campaigners in Swindon have been bringing to light statistics surrounding gay, bi-sexual and heterosexual men and domestic violence. According to Men’s Sexual Health in Swindon, men make up 40% of domestic abuse victims with gay men being more likely to suffer abuse than straight men.

Peter Morris, chairman of Men’s Aid NI has commented that there is a serious “lack of support agencies for men” and that funding for such organisations is almost impossible to get. He also expressed that there is still a stigma of shame surrounding male domestic violence which allows victims to continue to be abused under the radar for fear of coming forward and speaking out.

As funding is being tightened in all areas, men, women and children are suffering the consequences through lack of shelters and support.

How Does DV Affect Children?

There are many ways children can become affected by domestic violence. Often you may think they cannot hear the abuse but they can.

Children may:

  • Hear the abuse
  • Witness it
  • Be subject to some kind if domestic abuse themselves e.g. physical, emotional or sexual

In some cases, if you do not take action to get away from your abuser, Children’s Services may step in and take your children into care to protect their best interests. This is why many men and women who become victims of abuse aim to get away with the help of charities such as CAADV, Women’s Aid or some other domestic abuse related service.

From the figures we can see that domestic violence cuts across all walks of life and lifestyles and does not exclusively affect women.

First step

Reporting domestic violence is the first step to securing help. This is why CAADV have launched a campaignto try and make it easier for those who are suffering from domestic violence to speak out and get the help they need. The campaign aims to bring the issue of domestic violence into the workplace and out of the shadows.

A solicitor may also be able to help keep your abuser away from you and any children you have if you fear they are also at risk. Non-molestation orders and no-contact orders are just 2 ways that you can secure your family's safety.

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