Seeking Help With UK Domestic Violence
Statistics published by the NSPCC state that domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime in the UK. New government proposals have been outlined that will make it harder for women to claim legal aid to help fight their cases. But there are many organisations in the UK that victims of domestic violence can contact when trying to seeking help.
Statistics for UK Domestic ViolenceThe statistics on domestic violence in the UK make for shocking and surprising reading. Home Office data shows that more than one in four women has been the victim of domestic abuse since the age of 16. In the year 2009 to 2010 one million women were victims of domestic abuse. Domestic violence towards men is also common with around 40% of abuse victims being male. In the year 2009 to 2010 there were 600,000 male victims of domestic abuse. Male domestic abuse victims are less likely to report incidents to the police and there have been complaints that this issue is not taken seriously by the authorities.
The Shocking Financial Cost of Domestic Violence in the UKAside from the emotional, psychological and physical aspect of domestic violence to the victims there is a financial price paid for this crime by the UK taxpayer. Domestic violence accounts for around £3.1 billion per year in services such as the criminal system, social services, medical and housing. In England and Wales the loss to the economy comes in at around £2.7 billion per year. The pain and suffering of the victims is not included in the costs of the services but accounts for at least £17 billion annually. The total cost to the UK, the victims of domestic violence and employers totals out at an annual £23 billion.
The New Government Proposals on UK Domestic ViolenceThe government has outlined new proposals that will leave a huge amount of women at risk. Under the new proposals, victims of domestic abuse, the highest proportion of whom are women, will only be able to claim legal aid under certain circumstances. The government wants to withhold legal aid unless it can be proven that there is a high risk of violence. This means that the perpetrators of domestic abuse should already have a conviction against them or have been referred for a risk assessment. Around 50% of domestic violence victims will no longer qualify for legal aid under the terms of the government proposals.
The Police and Domestic ViolenceDomestic violence is a crime and should be reported to the police. Anyone who is a victim of assault, harassment, sexual abuse or threats can contact the police at any time of the day or night. The first priority of the police should be the safety of men, women and children, and their role is to investigate the incident that has been reported. The police can arrest, charge or caution the perpetrator and if charged, the perpetrator can be held for 24 hours. Many victims are unwilling to call the police but this can act as a deterrent against the violence reoccurring.
Organisations that Offer Help for Domestic AbuseThere are organisations, many of which are run by charities, that will help victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse. All of these organisations have websites where contact can be made and information obtained. Information includes spotting the warnings signs of domestic abuse and how to obtain help if abuse is occurring. There should also be information on where to go if abuse is happening including accommodation at a refuge in local areas. Organisations that will help include:
- Refuge, which provides emergency accommodation and safe houses
- Women’s Aid; a national charity specifically for abused women and children
- The NSPCC; the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- The National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline (0808 2000 247)
- Supportline; a 24 hour help service for men, women and children (01708765200)
- Action on Elderly Abuse, which helps to prevent abuse against vulnerable adults and elderly people
- The Rights of Women Organisation, which offers a legal advice service including domestic violence help
- Victims Support, a national charity that provides free advice and help for victims of crime including domestic abuse
It is a well used saying but it is true that if you are a victim of domestic abuse, you are not alone. This is a crime that occurs many times every day across the UK. Help organisations deal with thousands of domestic abuse cases every week. Complete confidentiality is guaranteed to the victim and most are completely free to use.