What Does Domestic Violence Really Look Like?


Domestic violence is a daily occurrence for many people in abusive relationships yet only a tiny fraction of domestic violence incidents gain much attention. The cases that do tend to have a celebrity angle or are particularly notable for other reasons. Recent examples have included various high-profile individuals, usually male, caught in the act by photographers or on video camera with shocking results.

Although females suffer the greatest number of incidents of domestic violence and abuse, it is generally believed that domestic violence is significantly underreported, particularly by male victims. It is estimated that 25% of women and 16% of men suffer domestic violence in their lifetime.

Regardless of gender it is important that awareness of domestic violence is raised in order to help victims find the courage to come forward.

Basic Awareness of Domestic Violence

In October, the UK observed the domestic violence awareness month. Following in that spirit, there are a number of issues victims of domestic violence and those in a position to help victims of domestic violence should consider.

ONS data regarding DV offenders by gender
The pie chart above shows over a ten year period that men were far more likely to be domestic violence offenders. On average men made up nearly 75 per cent of those perpetrating incidents in the ten years from 2003-2013. Therefore, men were over three times more likely to be offenders than women, although in nearly a quarter of cases women were the perpetrators. There was also only a minor proportion of couples where both the man and the woman were violent.

ONS data regarding DV offenders by age group
The second chart shows the average age of offenders with the greatest number of offenders falling into the 25 to 39 year old category. Still, notable proportions of domestic violence occurred across all age categories aged 16 and older.

ONS data regarding DV offences by time of day
The graph above shows the distribution of domestic violence incidents that occur by time of day. Clearly most incidents take place when the victim is at home with their abuser, which is more likely to be in the evening or at night. However, over a third of incidents do take place in the daytime.

ONS data regarding type of injury sustained by DV victims
This chart shows the types of injury from domestic violence that victims suffered in 2012-2013 with around 79 per cent of victims sustaining physical injuries. It is important to note that a number of victims reported more than one type of injury.

Despite outward physical injuries being an obvious feature of domestic violence, it is also important to remember that domestic violence is interpreted much more widely than that by the courts. Controlling of finances, restrictions on activities and verbal abuse can also be behaviours that may constitute domestic violence; hence 21% of incidents involved no physical injury at all.

Getting Help with Domestic Violence

The data on domestic violence gives us an understanding of what it actually looks like in terms of the age and gender of offenders, the time of day victims are most vulnerable and the physical injuries that result from incidents.

There is plenty of help available to people suffering from domestic violence that can assist them regain control of their lives. There are many local and national organisations that offer advice and support such as Refuge, the ManKind Intitiative and the National Domestic Violence Helpline.

Meanwhile, experienced family law firms will be able to seek legal remedies under the Family Law Act 1996, such as non-molestation orders and occupation orders to prevent threats of violence or restrict the access of offenders.

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