According to recent findings by the Office for national statistics, it is estimated that around 1.4 million women and 700,000 men from the UK suffered from domestic abuse in 2014.
This may seem like a staggeringly high number- and it is- but these results actually show a decline in the number of domestic abuse cases in comparison to 2011/12, when there was an estimated 2.1 million cases of domestic abuse in the UK.
Domestic violence has a higher repeat rate than any other crime and can occur in any relationship regardless off ethnicity, religion, class, age, sexuality, disability or lifestyle. Studies show that women in lower income households are 3 times more likely to be the victims of domestic abuse compared with those from a higher income family and the majority of attacks are alcohol-fuelled.
The sad truth is that less than half of domestic abuse attacks are reported to the police and statistically, women will endure an average of 35 attacks before informing the police. But not everyone gets the help they need- an average of 2 women a week are killed by a present or previous partner in the uk.
Both male and female victims of domestic abuse have many reasons for not seeking out the help they desperately need in order to escape abusive relationships. Many fear the humiliation and shame they will receive from their family and friends as well as their partner. For single parents, there is the fear of not being able to cope with the pressures of raising children alone, both financially and emotionally. Most abuse victims suffer from such low self-esteem and confidence, usually bought on by their partners physical and mental attacks, that they are too scared to leave them or may even feel that the situation is somehow their own fault. Others simply do not know where to go for help or advice.
If you think that a friend or relative may be the victim of domestic abuse, ask them in private. They may not tell you straight away and may feel pressurised into doing so but if you take a gentle approach and let them know that you are there for them if they want to talk, eventually many will. Educate yourself on the signs of domestic abuse, the more you know about it, the quicker you will be able to see the signs.
Check out www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/support-a-friend-or-family-member-experiencing-domestic-violence.aspx for more information on how you can help a sufferer of domestic abuse.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse the most important thing to remember is that you are never alone, there is always help and support out there for you. www.victimsupport.org.uk, www.refuge.org.uk and www.counselling-directory.org.uk are all great websites providing the help and additional support you need as well as a direct phone and email service if you want to talk to someone. Never feel that the abuse is your fault and do not take it upon yourself to try and change your partners behaviour, some behaviours- as sad as it may seem- cannot be changed. Don’t allow yourself to become another domestic abuse statistic, you are worth so much more.