Domestic violence kills two woman each week and accounts for 16% of all violent crime, government statistics show.
The Home Office says domestic abuse is chronically under reported and that research estimates it:
• has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there are 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)
• costs in excess of £23bn a year
• will affect one in four women and one in six men in their lifetime
What is domestic violence?
The Home Office defines domestic violence as “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”
Domestic abuse: notable recent developments
- The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
- The government’s national plan for domestic violence (2005): while welcoming new laws and government initiatives on domestic violence, many campaigners say a national strategy, with funding to implement it, is needed.
- Croydon’s family justice centre provides domestic violence victims with comprehensive services, all in one location and co-ordinated by a single body. Professionals involved include social workers, advocates, housing providers, the police, probation, family lawyers, benefits staff and the NHS. 40 different organisations in Croydon support families experiencing domestic violence, so having many agencies in one building is invaluable.
- Multi-agency risk assessment conferences: pioneered by Cardiff Women’s Safety Unit, multi-agency risk assessment conferences reduce harm for very high risk domestic abuse victims. Agencies meet to share information and take action. Evaluations of the Cardiff multi-agency work show significant reductions in futher violence and abuse, and increased confidence in the police and criminal justic system.
Find out more
Refuge Domestic violence charity
Women’s Aid Domestic violence charity
Local Government Association’s Domestic Violence Project
Website on domestic violence for professionals
The plight of refugees fleeing domestic violence
Report on Refuge’s 2006 annual conference