SWISS MEDICAL EXPERTISE: ZURICH, MALLORCA, LONDON, NEW YORK

7 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Every individual is born with a right to feel safe and be treated with love and respect in every relationship. However, the bitter truth is that not every relationship is as rosy as it should be, especially if it involves domestic violence. Even if you have been a victim of domestic violence for a long and are aware of the situation you are living in, it often takes time before leaving your abusive or violent partner. Not to forget that the process is extremely hard and demands a lot of courage.

Remember that in every abusive or violent relationship, the responsibility for the violence always lies with the abuser. No one else can control their behaviour or change it at the very least. Hence, the effort to pull out of these unfortunate circumstances rests on the shoulders of the abused alone. Leaving a violent relationship requires a lot of support and planning. The first step of this planning involves familiarising yourself with the domestic violence statistics UK to understand that you are not alone. The problem runs deep within society; however, many have recovered from these unfortunate circumstances, and so can you. 

When people think of domestic abuse, they mostly consider physical violence in a relationship. However, domestic abuse is a much broader term that encompasses any attempt by an individual in an intimate relationship or a marriage to control or dominate the other. Regardless of the relationship, domestic abuse and violence are used solely for one purpose: to gain control over the weaker individual and maintain it. An abuser never plays fair and commonly uses guilt, fear, intimidation, and shame to wear down the victim and keep them under their thumb.

Domestic abuse and violence can happen to anyone without any discrimination. Abuse can occur in heterosexual and same-sex relationships with partners of all age brackets, economic levels, and ethnic backgrounds. While women are most commonly the victims, men also tend to experience abuse through emotional and verbal mediums. The bottom line is that abuse or violence is never an acceptable form of behaviour, whether it comes from a woman, man, or an older individual. And if you have been suffering from this behaviour, know that you deserve to feel respected, safe, and valued.

An interesting crime survey for Wales and England conducted in March 2017 aimed to investigate the perceptions of domestic abuse and violence in the general public. While most adult participants responding to the survey considered slapping or hitting a partner as always unacceptable, certain exceptions were noticed. Some participants thought that it was sometimes, mostly, or always acceptable to get violent with a partner in certain situations, such as: 

  • Flirting with other people (2 per cent)
  • Cheating on their partner or having an affair outside of their current relationship (7.1 per cent)
  • Constantly moaning or nagging (1.5 per cent)

Mentioned below are some interesting female and male domestic violence statistics UK: 

  • Every year, approximately 2 million individuals in the UK suffer from some type of domestic abuse. Of these, 1.3 million are female, whereas 600,000 victims are male.
  • Approximately 1 in 6 men and 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives
  • Even though men and women both suffer from domestic violence and abuse, the abuse suffered by the latter is physically more severe and is more likely to end up in hospitalisation. Additionally, the injuries encountered by females due to domestic violence are also expected to go on for a longer time
  • People most vulnerable to domestic abuse are mainly under the age of 25
  • Both male and female victims of domestic violence are much more likely to belong to an ethnic minority group or a low-income group
  • More than 90 per cent of cases assessed by the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) include female victims
  • Most victims of domestic violence request professional help five times on average before receiving enough support to stop the ongoing abuse
  • 1 out of every five children in the UK has been exposed to domestic abuse during some point in their lives
  • Every school reception class has a minimum of one child who has been living with domestic violence since birth.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways in which statistics for domestic violence are collected:

  • The first one includes using data that has been collected for another purpose, for example, for prosecutions or to estimate the number of court orders,
  • The second one includes asking people with the relevant experience about the issue

Data collected for a different reason, usually by an official body or a government agency, is more likely to be objective. However, they are subject to the classification criteria the collecting body is applying. For instance, the process through which an incident of domestic abuse is recorded as a crime includes multiple stages. These stages begin with the decision of the victim to report the incident, the response of the police, the courts, and so on.

Alternatively, asking people directly about their experiences usually leads to a better collection as the information is better suited to the underlying purpose. However, even with this procedure, there are certain limitations, such as:

  • The process takes a lot of time and is associated with higher costs
  • The type of questions asked and how they are asked may generate different responses in the participants, some being more meaningful and reliable than others.
  • Sometimes, the sample is localised to one geographical area or may include only a specific type of people. In such circumstances, the collected data is not applicable universally.
  • Results are often based on a sample of the population instead of everyone, which may generate a sampling error of a certain degree.

Statistics suggest that, on average, most victims endure 50 incidents involving domestic violence and wait for up to three years before seeking help. As a result, almost a million incidents tied with domestic violence go unreported every year. Experts, however, fear that the real number of these unreported cases might be a lot higher. A partial reason behind this high number is that many victims cannot identify the ongoing abuse due to a lack of awareness.

If you suspect that your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. If the answers to most of them are “yes,” it’s worth seeking help immediately.

Questions for your inner feelings and thoughts

Do you:

  • Feel emotionally helpless
  • Think of yourself as the crazy one.
  • Believe that you deserve the mistreatment in the hands of your partner or a loved one.
  • Feel that you are not good enough for your partner?
  • Avoid discussing certain topics out of fear of angering your loved one.
  • Feel afraid of your loved one most of the time?

Questions for your loved one’s behaviour

Does your loved one:

  • Constantly criticise you or put you down?
  • Scream at you or humiliate you?
  • Blame you for their violent behaviours?
  • Ignore or belittle your accomplishments or opinions?
  • See you as a property or a toy instead of a person?
  • Treat you bad enough to cause you embarrassment in front of your family and friends?

Questions for your loved one’s violent behaviour

Does your loved one:

  • Threaten to harm your children or take them away from you?
  • Have an unpredictable and bad temperament?
  • Hurt you or threaten to do so?
  • Destroy your belongings?
  • Threaten to self-harm if you ever leave them?

Questions for your loved one’s controlling behaviour

Does your loved one:

  • Constantly check on you?
  • Control what you do or where you go
  • Act excessively possessive and jealous?
  • Forbid you from meeting your friends and family?
  • Limit your access to your phone, car, internet or money.

In case you have answered yes to the questions, know that you are not alone. Millions of others face similar situations, and even more have overcome these challenges by seeking appropriate support and help. Contact a local agency dealing with domestic violence and abuse to start breaking away from this cycle of negativity.

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