Womens Aid AGM
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. This can include forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’. Domestic violence may, and often does, include a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are, in themselves, inherently "violent". Crime statistics and research both show that domestic violence is gender specific (i.e. most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men) and that any woman can experience domestic violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. Domestic violence is repetitive, life-threatening, and can destroy the lives of women and children.
The Government defines domestic violence as "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called 'honour killings' Domestic violence can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships, and can involve other family members, including children.
Domestic violence is very common. Research shows that it can affect one in four women in their lifetimes, regardless of age, social class, race, disability or lifestyle.
All forms of domestic violence – psychological, economic, emotional and physical – come from the abuser’s desire for power and control over other family members or intimate partners.
Although every situation is unique, there are common factors that link the experience of an abusive relationship. Acknowledging these factors is an important step in preventing and stopping the abuse.
Domestic violence is very common with 1 in 4 women experiencing it in their lifetime and between 1 in 8 to 1 in 10 women experiencing it annually. Though less than half of all incidents are ever reported the Police, the Police still receive one call about domestic violence for every minute in the UK.
An analysis of 10 separate domestic violence prevalence studies found consistent findings: 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year (Council of Europe, 2002).
British Crime Survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (that constituted non-sexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year preceding interview (Walby & Allen, 2004).
Nearly 1 in 5 counselling sessions held in Relate Centres in England on 28 September 2000 mentioned domestic violence as an issue in the marriage (Stanko, 2000).
Every minute in the UK, the Police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence. This leads to police receiving an estimated 1,300 calls each day or over 570,000 each year. (Stanko, 2000). However, according to the British Crime Survey, only 40.2% of actual domestic violence crime is reported to the Police (Dodd et al, July 2004).