Domestic Violence, the hidden epidemic
The Discovery Show special on Friday 18 March 2016 from 17.30 – 20.00 on Floradio (www.floradio.co.uk/) will focus on Domestic violence.
 

When you read this blog, you will like me, I feel certain, wonder why the sheer scale of the problem does not attract greater media attention and realise there is a need for action. I regularly work with adults who have or are suffering this experience and with adults whose childhood was blighted by this backdrop. The time for discussion and action is now.

Guests include:
  • Simon Parr, a police officer for 32 years, serving in Sussex Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire where he was Chief Constable for five years.  Despite big  budget cuts he invested heavily in a specialist unit to deal with the most vulnerable victims of crime, particularly victims of domestic violence.
  • Anna is a woman, in her forties with one child. After suffering years of both physical  and mental abuse from her husband she found the courage to leave. She continue to suffer at the hands of this man for a further 5yrs but has now found freedom. 
If you have any points to raise or observations or questions prior to the show, please send them via email to:

davidowen@floradio.co.uk

Who is affected?
 
 
It happens to all people whether men, women, or transsexual and whether heterosexual, gay or bi. Although we hear most often about women. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey (2014) estimated that in 2014:
  • 1.4 million women and 700,000 men have suffered domestic abuse
The ONS states domestic violence is at the following levels:
  • 4.9 million women, or 28%
  • 2.4 million men, or nearly 15%
The Stonewall Research (2012) estimates domestic violence in gay relationships is nearer 37%, and may exceed the level of domestic violence in straight relationships:
  • 49% of gay and bisexual men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16, compared to 17% of men in general.
  • 37% of gay and bisexual men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse in a relationship with a man.
  • 23% of gay and bisexual men have experienced domestic abuse from a family member since the age of 16.
  • 78% of gay and bisexual men who have experienced domestic abuse have never reported incidents to the police. (53% were not happy with how the police dealt with the situation.)
Gay women experience domestic violence at a very similar rate to that of heterosexual women (Waldner-Haygrud, 1997; AVP, 1992):
  • Between 17-45% of lesbian women have been the victim of at least one act of violence perpetrated by a female partner (Burke et al, 1999; Lie et al, 1991)
  • 30% of lesbian women have reported sexual assault / rape by another woman (Renzetti, 1992).
The problem is not caused by a gender, sexuality or race, but by people.

 

What is it? (Victims Support)
  • Physical abuse:
  • Pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons.
  • Sexual abuse:
  • Forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography.
  • Financial abuse:
  • Taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse:
  • Making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, playing mind games.
The Cycle of Abuse (from New Hope), involves 3 phases:

Tension-Building Phase:
  • The victim senses tension and fears an outburst.
  • The victim tries to calm the abuser down and may “walk on eggshells” to avoid any major violent confrontations.
Violent Episode:
  • Outbursts of violent, abusive incidents by the perpetrator.
  • The abuser attempts to dominate his/her partner with the use of violence.
  • Includes physical or other types of abuse.
Reconciliation:
  • The abusive partner shows affection or offers an apology, with the appearance of an “end” to the violence.
  • The perpetrator shows overwhelming feelings of remorse and sadness.
  • Some abusers walk away from the situation, while others shower their victims with love and affection.
Common Myth:
Perpetrators just “lost control” when they emotionally or physically abuse their partners. This is not true. Domestic violence is the exact opposite of losing control. Perpetrators know what they are doing and use their abusive tactics of choice to maintain dominance in the relationship. Common excuses that abusers may use:
  • “It wasn’t me, it was the alcohol/drugs”, etc.
  • “You made me do it”, “You know how to push my buttons” or “You know how to get me going”
  • “I didn’t mean it”
  • “I just lost control”
  • “I won’t do it again”
More Myths
  • It only happens in poor families on council estates.
  • More women would leave if the abuse was that bad.
  • Abusers grow up in violent homes.
  • Some women like violence.
  • Women ask for it. They deserve what they get
  • Abusive men have a mental illness. They can’t help what they do.
  • He only hit her because he was under stress.
  • He loses his temper sometimes, that’s all.
  • Domestic violence is a private matter, you shouldn’t get involved.
 
Causes (Refuge):
There is no single cause of domestic violence. It comes from a combination of factors, including society’s attitudes, community responses, and the individual psychology experiences of the abuser and the abused.
Domestic violence is the result of an abuser’s desire for power and control. Women are considered less important by many in our society and this creates an imbalance of power between the sexes. As a result male abusers are too often allowed to get away with their actions.
 
The Impact (statistics supplied by Refuge)
  • 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner (Office of National Statistics, 2015)
  • 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes (Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14)
  • Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner (State of the World’s Fathers Report, MenCare, 2015)
  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime (Home Office, July 2002)
  • Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic assistance call – yet only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police (Stanko, 2000 & Home Office, 2002)
  • The 2001/02 British Crime Survey (BCS) found that there were an estimated 635,000 incidents of domestic violence in England and Wales. 81% of the victims were women and 19% were men. Domestic violence incidents also made up nearly 22% of all violent incidents reported by participants in the BCS (Home Office, July 2002)
  • On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police (Jaffe, 1982)
Children
  • 25% of children in the UK have been exposed to domestic abuse (Radford et al. NSPCC, 2011)
  • In 90% of domestic violence incidents in family households, children were in the same or the next room (Hughes, 1992)
  • 62% of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed (SafeLives, 2015)
 
Health
  • 30% of domestic violence either starts or will intensify during pregnancy (Department of Health report, October 2004)
  • Foetal illness from violence is more prevalent than gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia (Friend, 1998)
Cost to society
In November 2009, Sylvia Walby of the University of Leeds estimated the total costs of domestic violence to be £15.7 billion a year.  This is broken down as follows:
  • The costs to services (Criminal Justice System, health, social services, housing, civil legal) amount to £3.8 billion per year
  • The loss to the economy – where women take time off work due to injuries – is £1.9 billion per year
  • Domestic violence also leads to pain and suffering that is not counted in the cost of services.  The human and emotional costs of domestic violence amount to almost £10 billion per year
Rosie Batty, a real example:
In 2015, Rosie Batty became Australian of the Year. You can see the link to here acceptance speech below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIr85479R2k

Ms Batty gained the award after she emerged as a leading voice calling on Australians to confront the problem of domestic violence and abuse and the devastating toll that violence by men was wreaking on Australian women and families.
Ms Batty came to national prominence through her own tragic experience. Her 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father and her former partner in 2014.
Her tireless efforts as an advocate for wholesale change to the approach to family violence made her a candidate for Australian of the Year.
 
 
Support and Resources:

24-hour National Domestic Violence  Freephone Helpline (in conjunction with Women’s Aid and Refuge)-
0808 2000 247
www.refuge.org.uk
www.womensaid.org.uk

Police
Domestic Violence unit or 999

Herts Sunflower Organisation – Backed by Herts Police & Herts Safeguarding Children Board
http://www.hertssunflower.org/
Domestic Violence & Abuse Helpline
08088 088 088


Broken Rainbow – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual
www.brokenrainbow.org.uk
0300 999 5428
Opening Times: Monday & Thursday 10am – 8pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 10am – 5pm

Men’s Advice line
0808 801 0327 (free from landlines and most mobiles)
Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
www.mensadviceline.org.uk

Southall Black Sisters
Provides information, advice, advocacy, practical help, counselling and support to Asian, African-Caribbean and other minority women and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence in a wide range of languages
Helpline: 0208 571 0800 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm)
www.southallblacksisters.org.uk

Samaritans
www.samaritans.org
08457 90 90 90
Opening Times: Daily, open 24 hours a day.

Respect
Runs support services and programmes for men and women who inflict violence in relationships.  They also provide an advice line for men who are victims of domestic violence.
www.respectphoneline.org.uk
0808 802 4040
Opening Times: Monday – Friday 9am - 5pm
 
The Discovery Show special on Friday 19 March from 18.00 – 20.00 on Floradio (www.floradio.co.uk) will focus on Domestic violence.

Guests include:
  • Simon Parr ex senior Police Officer who is passionate about addressing this subject
  • An individual who has experienced the disruptive and devastating impact of this problem and has regained control of their life.
If you have any points to raise or observations or questions prior to the show, please send them via email to:

davidowen@floradio.co.uk