Domestic violence (also called Domestic Abuse) is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported domestic violence incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room.
According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) year ending March 2019:
- an estimated 7.5% of women (1.6 million) and 3.8% of men (786,000) experienced domestic abuse in the last year
- women aged 20 to 24 years were more likely to be victims of any domestic abuse in the last year than women aged 25 years and over
- adults who were separated or divorced were more likely to have experienced domestic abuse compared with those who were married or civil partnered, cohabiting, single or widowed
- adults who lived in urban areas were more likely to have experienced domestic abuse in the last year (6.0%) than those who lived in rural areas (4.2%)
In 75% of the domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police in the year ending March 2019, the victim was female.
Between the year ending March 2016 and the year ending March 2018, 74% of victims of domestic homicide were female compared with 13% of victims of non-domestic homicide.
In 2019 Cambridgeshire Police received 7979 reported domestic abuse related incidents/crimes (ONS.gov.uk)
Research has shown that there is wide acceptance of abuse among young people in the UK:
- 45% of teenagers believe that, in some circumstances, it is acceptable for a boy to assault his girlfriend.
- one in five teenage girls has been hit by a boyfriend, and one third say cheating justifies violence.
- there is a clear link between girls experiencing domestic violence in the home and then later experiencing abuse by boyfriends.
- a small-scale local study found that all participants had knowledge of friends or other young people who had experienced emotional or physical harm from a partner.
- Domestic violence may teach children to use violence
- Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways
- Where there is domestic violence there is often child abuse
- Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence
- Alcohol misuse is very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families
- Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic violence.
Children, who witness, intervene or hear incidents are affected in many ways. What can be guaranteed is that children do hear, they do see and they are aware of abuse in the family. Children will learn how to behave from examples parents set for them. Domestic violence teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:
- It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict
- They learn how to keep secrets
- They learn to mistrust those close to them and that children are responsible and to blame for violence, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children.
Many people find it difficult to understand why people remain in or return to abusive violent situations. A combination of fear, love, the risk of homelessness and financial issues can make it very difficult for partners with children to leave and some may not want to.