Thursday, 19 November 2009

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a phrase often thought of, but often ignored. It is thought to be a private issue. A new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in conjunction with the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlights that domestic is far from a private issue. It’s an issue that deserves the widest attention.
Domestic abuse can be described as “when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another” .In the UK alone, every year, at least one woman in four experiences domestic abuse – be it violence against the body, forced intercourse or rape, financial abuse, isolation or mental abuse. These are just some of the abuses that cause long term difficulties for individuals, families, communities and society. Over 100 women are killed each year as a result of domestic abuse. Disabled women are twice as likely to suffer domestic abuse. There also exist increasing cases of domestic abuse of men perpetrated by women. Whether done by men or women, domestic abuse is a cowardice act.
It is also an act that reverberates across society. Domestic abuse shouldn’t have to be diluted into numbers; it should be something that is universally rejected. That being said, violence against women costs the NHS £1.2 billion a year for physical injuries and £176 million for mental health support. The credit crunch has also affected services for domestic abuse sufferers. A survey of rape crisis England and Wales showed that almost a quarter face closure this year and almost 40% fear closure next year because of a lack of funding.
For those who have suffered domestic abuse, help is not always close to hand. And help is much more than just saying to the individual suffering; leave the relationship, it involves a lengthy and time consuming process to ensure that those who have suffered from domestic abuse are able to regain their confidence, walk down the street without fear and arrive at their house without apprehension.
That help is not always at hand. The report shows that a postcode lottery means that some sufferers of domestic abuse receive better help than others. All because of the area they live in. For example, for the 250, 000 a woman in Glasgow there exists 13 – 16 services available for those seeking refuge and help. Whilst in the Aberdeenshire area, there are merely 1 – 3 services available. It shouldn’t matter where someone lives; victims of domestic deserve the best help.
And the best kind of help revolves around services that provide a holistic service. The report highlights that victims of domestic need specialist help to overcome stigma of abuse, talk about their experiences and regain self – confidence as well as seeking avenues for justice to be served. But most all, victims need a refuge. A refuge from violence and a refuge from fear.
With this report it is hoped that the issue of domestic abuse is highlighted and that action is taken to ensure that everyone is a winner in the postcode lottery and that both men and women know and understand the help that is available. Not enough is being done and a lot more should be done. Because in domestic abuse, there are no ifs, there are no buts. Only victims.

1 comment:

  1. October was domestic violence awareness month, but as we appraoch the festive period it is more important then ever that we keep the message alive.