If you’re a victim of domestic violence or abuse, you’re not alone. Between March 2016 and 2017, an estimated 1.9 million adults aged between 15 and 59 experienced domestic abuse in the UK. Of these, women are more commonly victims – but many men are also affected. 1.2 million women experienced abuse compared to 713,000 men.
It is important to report cases in order to secure convictions against your partner. Estimates by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggest four out of five victims did not report their partners. Of those 1.9 million adults who did report abuse to the CSEW, there were just 1.1 million domestic abuse-related incidents recorded by the police. Shockingly, 32% of all violent crime is attributed to domestic violence.
It is very important to seek help if you’re a victim. Leaving cases unreported can lead to serious issues. Over the three year period from April 2013 to March 2016, there were 454 domestic homicides recorded by the police – which accounted for 31% of all homicides for people aged 16 or over in the country. Compared to all homicides, where the majority of victims are male (88%), in domestic homicides 70% were female and 30% male. To put that simply, if you’re a female and experiencing domestic violence you are at a higher risk of it escalating.
Stopping violence before it starts
If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, you may not even know it. ‘Coercive and controlling behaviour’ became a crime on the 29th of December 2015. If your partner is behaving in a way that makes you feel controlled, dependent or afraid, you can seek help. If you’re being isolated from your family and friends, having funds controlled, having activities monitored, being demeaned and mocked, or being threatened, you can seek help.
Even at what some may consider an ‘early stage’, seeking help against this kind of behaviour works. 155 defendants were prosecuted for coercive and controlling behaviour in the year ending 2016. The average sentence given was 17 months. If you feel you’re being treated coercively by your partner, reporting them to the police is important.
However, approaching the police is a nerve-racking step for many. Fear often means that crimes go unreported. Our domestic violence solicitors can help you during this difficult time – as we will be able to explain your options and could also put you in touch with a refuge. Obviously, we would not inform your partner. Whatever your worries are around seeking help for domestic abuse, we can help guide you through the steps to a safer, more stable life.
Beecham Peacock is here to help victims get confidential support and to advise you of agencies to help with rehousing you and your children. It’s important to realise that if you are being subjected to domestic abuse, you deserve professional, discrete assistance. Call our Family Law team today on 0191 232 3048.