Why call it 'abuse' now and not domestic violence?

Because these days it is recognised that domestic abuse can take many forms other than actual physical violence. It can be sexual, including marital rape. It can also take the form of verbal threats, financial abuse, emotional and psychological abuse.

How common is it?

Unfortunately it is much more common than most people think. And it happens in all races, all ages, all social backgrounds and to both genders and all sexual orientations. Only a small fraction of cases are actually reported though, and usually only when it gets intolerable or develops into violence. Very often the abuser feels remorse after and promises it won't happen again. It usually does though.

But why is it not reported?

Each victim has their own reasons. Sometimes they still love their partners and don't want to get them into trouble. Sometimes they fear even more violence if they report it. Sometimes they fear what their future would be if they no longer had their partner. Sometimes they don't want to believe it and suffer in denial. First they have to admit it to themselves. Some just find it too embarrasing or shameful to talk about, even to friends or relatives. Yet it is not the victims who need to be ashamed or embarrased. Very often the family includes children and any of these reasons can persuade the victims to continue the abusive relationship.

If it is not an emergency, there is a very good government website that explains your options and rights, gives you phone numbers to call for victim support, refuge centres etc. Click the following link to take you there.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/VictimsOfCrime/DG_4003136

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