Anyone can experience domestic violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, socio-economic status, disability or lifestyle.
However, women most commonly experience it and most perpetrators are men. Other family members other than the partner or husband can also carry out abuse e.g. extended family members and in laws.
In my case my mother in law demanded that he beat me and she also actually put me in a headlock.
Types of Abuse – These include: physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and financial control.
Statistics on Domestic Violence
1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime
On average a woman will experience 35 incidents of domestic abuse before reporting to the police.
The police in the UK receive one call from the public every minute for assistance for domestic violence. Domestic violence accounts for about 16% of recorded violent crime
Why Don’t Women Seek Help?
Violence against women continues to remain under reported. Women find it difficult to come forward and report abuse and the reasons can vary such as: as fear of consequences; blaming themselves; not realizing they are victims; not being aware of the help available; being isolated from family and friends and not being able to reach help; worried about finances; and hoping the partner may change. I personally was terrified that he would seriously harm me and the children if I left.
As a Muslim women I faced additional barriers that prevented me from seeking help which were: fear, shame, stigma, and being rejected by the community.
So when reached out and asked for help from family, friends and religious leaders, they usually advised me to leave straight way (which I wasn’t ready to do) or be patient and pray for my situation to change.
I was also blamed for any problem within the family including the violence and abuse I was subjected to.
My fear of violence also prevented me from coming forward and getting the I needed.
Spouses from Abroad
Spouses from abroad who are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled in the UK and that relationship breaks down as a result of domestic violence, the victim may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and access financial assistance by accessing public funds. To be given permission, victims must prove they are suffering from domestic violence.
Legal Protection – You must always call 999 when in immediate danger
Criminal Law – There is no specific offence of ‘domestic violence’ under criminal law. However, many forms of domestic violence are crimes; for example, offences such as assault, false imprisonment, harassment, rape, criminal damage, and attempted murder may be applied.
Civil Law – Victims can get protection from abuse under civil law through a court order (called an injunction or protection order). These orders can help prevent further abuse to the survivor and her children, remove the abuser from the home and keep him away.
Victims of domestic violence and are divorcing or separating from an abusive partner can get legal aid to help. This can help with the divorce or things such as child contact or how to share money or property. To get legal aid victims must be able to give the solicitor some evidence that they have been a victim of domestic violence by their partner or husband. Eligibility to legal aid also depends on the victim’s financial circumstances.