The understanding of domestic abuse has improved considerably in recent years as awareness increases, but there are still many misconceptions about domestic abuse and who experiences it. In our latest blog, we look at some of these and explain how they are incorrect.
“Why don’t they just leave?”
This is a phrase that often gets used when discussing domestic abuse, but leaving an abusive relationship is far from easy. It takes an average of 35 incidents before someone who is experiencing domestic abuse will come forward to access support, with many victims isolated from support networks and financially dependent on the perpetrator. There will be many people that will also feel that they will not be believed, if they were to come forward.
Domestic Abuse Is Always Physical
Domestic abuse is not confined solely to physical acts of violence and takes many forms, such as financial abuse, coercive control, sexual abuse and psychological abuse. Women’s Aid define domestic abuse as:
“An incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour.”
The upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill will provide a legal definition of domestic abuse to cover all types of abuse, strengthening the hand of those enforcing the law by providing clear guidance as to what constitutes domestic abuse.
Domestic Abuse Is Uncommon
Sadly, this is untrue. We know that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. To put that in context, one of your friends and/or family members is highly likely to experience or have experienced domestic abuse at some point in their life. In the last year, an estimated 2.4 million adults experienced domestic abuse in the UK. There will be many more people that have experienced domestic abuse but have not accessed support.
Alcohol Is to Blame for a Perpetrator’s Behaviour
Alcohol is not the root cause of the problem. The perpetrator of the abuse is the problem. Some perpetrators will be violent when they are sober, whilst the vast majority of people who enjoy a drink do not turn violent towards their partner. This is often an excuse used by perpetrators to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions.
Domestic Abuse Is a Private Issue
Domestic abuse often happens behind closed doors, but there may be signs that someone is experiencing it – they could become withdrawn, make excuses for injuries or regularly miss work. Asking someone if they are okay or if there is anything that they want to talk about could help them to access support at an earlier stage and break free from their abusive relationship.
We all have a role to play to tackle domestic abuse and it is important that we speak out to raise awareness of it and reiterate that it is not accepted in our society.
At Leeway, we have an experienced team of trainers who deliver high quality domestic abuse awareness training to health professionals, public sector employees and businesses of any size. To find out more about the courses we offer visit the training page of our website or call 0300 561 0077
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