If you are being abused, threatened, or physically or sexually assaulted by a partner, a former partner, or a family member, that is domestic violence.
Domestic violence is still largely a hidden crime, those who have experienced abuse from a partner or ex-partner will often try to keep it from families, friends, or authorities.
This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic communities such as so called ‘honour killings’ and forced marriage.
As well as actual physical violence, domestic violence can involve a wide range of abusive and controlling behaviour, including:
- physical attacks
- financial control
- emotional abuse
Victims of abuse are likely to experience repeated attacks before they report the abuse to anyone – and statistics can only be based on known data. On average, 35 assaults happen before the police are called. This chain of events needs to be broken and a range of organisations are working to do this.Anyone can experience domestic violence – it can happen regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and location. National statistics show that it consists mainly of violence by men against women, although not exclusively.
For those people experiencing violence, the support of a trusted friend can be invaluable. Breaking the chain is a job for everyone and we all have a vital role to play in supporting victims and helping law-enforcement and other agencies to reduce violent and controlling behaviour.