Recent figures obtained through freedom of information requests have exposed that one in 10 emergency calls to the police are related to domestic violence. This shocking statistic has sparked demands for more to be done to tackle this growing hidden crime.
This announcement backs up the shocking statistics published by the National Centre of Domestic Abuse earlier in December, showing a 19% increase in domestic violence cases in the past 3 years.
It has been suggested that financially stressful times are primarily to blame for the increase of domestic violence cases. Whilst there are many reasons domestic abuse occur, it has been shown that financial difficulties bring an additional layer of stress to people’s relationships – fuelling arguments that can lead to violence and abuse.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper highlighted that domestic violence cases were twice as more common than burglary in 2012 and this is set to increase as further cuts are being made to services for women suffering from domestic abuse.
Sandra Horley from the Domestic Violence charity Refuge has spoken out against the linking of tough economic times with domestic violence, citing that this dangerous link is merely offsetting blame from domestic abusers.
She argues that the increase in domestic violence figures is merely to do with the increase awareness and reporting of domestic violence and does not necessarily reflect an actual increase in domestic violence cases – domestic violence has occurred for centuries.
Whilst tough economic times may increase stress and make violence worse, domestic violence is primarily associated with the abuse of power, something which is not closely linked with financial stress. By suggesting financial difficulty may be linked to domestic violence is merely providing another excuse for domestic violence, Ms Horley suggested.
What is clear is that more needs to be done to help support victims of domestic abuse. The Home office have promised that £40m worth of funding will be used to help support domestic and sexual support survices. Domestic violence costs the state approximately £16bn per year in legal, police, healthcare costs and lost economic output.
Whilst this £40m promised is a positive step, the coalition are going to have to do more if domestic abuse levels are ever to decrease. With continuing cuts to welfare benefits – women are more exposed than ever.
If you are suffering domestic abuse or know someone who has it is essential that you report it and seek advice. It can feel like a burden only you can carry but there are ways of getting help and facing up to confrontation and difficult decisions such as separation and divorce.
For more advice regarding separation, please contact Co-op Legal.