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of Women’s Aid
1991-1994, twenty four women were victims in domestic violence
related homicide. Other serious violence cases which came to
court totaled 1031, these included grevious bodily harm, Actual
bodily Harm, threats to kill etc.
979 victims were women
52 victims were men. (RUC Statistics).
half (44%) of all incidents reported by women to the British Crime
Survey were domestic violence incidents. (British Crime Survey 1996,
1981, the largest increase in violent crimes has been in incidents
of domestic violence (British Crime Survey 1996, Home Office).
number of local surveys in the UK show between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4
women report having suffered domestic violence at some time in their
household survey of 430 women in a London borough found that 1 in 3
women had experienced domestic violence at some time in their lives,
12% had been victims of domestic violence in the past year (Jayne
Mooney (1993) The Hidden Figure: Domestic Violence in North London,
Middlesex University Centre for Criminology).
survey of 484 women in Surrey's shopping centres found that 1 in 4
defined themselves as having suffered domestic violence from a male
partner or ex-partner since the age of 18 years (Nicola Dominy &
Lorraine Radford (1996) Domestic Violence in Surrey: Towards an
Effective Inter-Agency Response, Surrey Social Services / Roehampton
survey of 281 women attending GP surgeries in West London found that
1 in 3 (33%) reported suffering abuse from a male partner (Alison
McGibbon, Libby Cooper & Liz Kelly (1988) What Support?, Child
and Woman Abuse Study Unit, University of North London).
recent survey of 129 women attending GPs surgeries in North London
found 1 in 9 reported experiences of domestic violence serious
enough to require medical attention in the past 12 months (Elizabeth
Stanko, Debbie Crisp, Chris Hale and Hebe Lucraft (1997) Counting
The Costs: Estimating The Impact of Domestic Violence in the London
Borough of Hackney, Swindon: Crime Concern).
findings are reported from research overseas. For example the
largest recent survey of violence against women involved a telephone
survey of over 11,000 women in Canada. One in three reported
violence from their partners (Statistics Canada (1996) Survey on
Violence Against Women in Canada).
survey of 1000 women in city centres in North England found that 1
in 8 women reported having been raped by their husbands or partners
(Painter, K. (1991) Wife Rape and The Law Survey Report: Key
Findings And Recommendations, Department of Social Policy &
Social Work, University of Manchester).
many as 1 in 3 marriages that end in divorce involve domestic
violence (Borkowski, Murch & Walker (1983) Marital Violence,
year, 45% of female homicide victims are killed by present or former
male partners compared to 8% of male victims. On average, 2 women
per week are killed in England and Wales by their
partners/ex-partners (Criminal Statistics (1992) Home Office).
victimisation is common. Half of all victims of domestic violence
are involved in incidents more than once (British Crime Survey 1996
are less likely to be used in assaults but victims of domestic
violence are more likely to be injured (British Crime Survey 1996
4 incidents result in substantial physical injuries. 10% of 129
women surveyed in North London GP surgeries reported being knocked
unconscious by their partners. 5% had sustained broken bones as a
result of domestic violence. (Elizabeth Stanko, Debbie Crisp, Chris
Hale and Hebe Lucraft (1997) Counting The Costs: Estimating The
Impact of Domestic Violence in the London Borough of Hackney,
Swindon: Crime Concern).
who are physically abused report physical injuries on average four
occasions during a twelve month period (Jayne Mooney (1993) The
Hidden Figure: Domestic Violence in North London, Middx University
Centre for Criminology).
of 127 women resident in refuges in Northern Ireland experienced
violence during pregnancy. 13% lost their babies as a result (Monica
McWilliams & Joan McKiernan (1993) Bringing it out into the
open, Belfast HMSO).
violence often continues and may escalate in severity after
separation. As many as one-third of women who leave refuges
experience continued abuse and harassment from their ex-partners (Binney,
Harkell & Nixon, (1988) Leaving Violent Men, Bristol: WAFE).
are at greatest risk of homicide at the point of separation or after
leaving a violent partner (Daly & Wilson (1988) Homicide, Aldane
violence is the least likely violent crime to be reported to the
police. Only one out of three crimes resulting in injury are
reported (British Crime Survey, 1996).
who suffer domestic violence are likely to under report incidents of
abuse. In a study of 484 women's experiences of violence in Surrey,
2 out of 3 women who defined themselves as victims of domestic
violence said they had not told family, friends or agencies about
the abuse. (Dominy & Radford (1996) Domestic Violence in Surrey,
Surrey Social Services/ Roehampton Institute).Domestic violence has
a major impact upon the health and welfare of women and children
world-wide. The 1995 World Development Report by the United Nations
shows, that on a world scale, it is a significant cause of
disability and death (Social Services Inspectorate (1996) Domestic
Violence and Social Care).
health years of life are lost world-wide by women because of
domestic violence (Social Services Inspectorate, 1996).
in the USA have found parallels between the effects of domestic
violence on women and the impact of torture and imprisonment on
hostages (Graham, P. Rawlings E. & Rimini, W. (1988) 'Survivors
of Terror: Battered Women, Hostages and the Stockholm Syndrome' in
K. Yllo & M. Bograd (eds) Feminist Perspectives On Wife Abuse,
has shown that these effects include low self esteem, dependence
upon the perpetrator, feelings of hopelessness about ending the
violence, a tendency to minimise or deny the violence (Kirkwood, C.
(1993) Leaving Abusive Partners, London: Sage).
of marital rape suffer many of the same reactions as other victims
of rape, including very severe depression and suicidal tendencies.
Feelings of shame and degradation prevent women from talking about
this form of abuse (Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical
Association (1992) Physicians and Domestic Violence: Ethical
Considerations' in Journal of American Medical Assoc., 267: 3190-3).
violence is a factor in 1 in 4 suicide attempts by women (Stark, E.
Flitcraft, A. & Frazier, W. (1979) Medicine And Patriarchal
Violence: The Social Construction of A 'Private' Event,
International Journal of Health Services, 9 (3) pp. 461-93).
& domestic violence
survey of child abuse hospital records in the USA found that 45% of
the mothers of abused children were also victims of domestic
violence (Stark & Flitcraft, 1988).
study of over 1,000 women living in refuges found that 70% of the
women with children said their partners had also been physically
violent to the children (Bowker, 1988).
studies reviewed by Hughes et al (1989) have found child abuse and
woman abuse occurring together in 40-60% of cases.
3 child protection cases show a history of domestic violence to the
mother (Hester & Pearson, 1998).
sponsored by the National Children's Home in the UK found that in
25% of cases the male partner had also been violent to the children
90% of incidents involving domestic violence, the children are in
the same or the next room (Hughes, 1992).
NCH study found 75% of mothers said their children had witnessed
domestic violence, 33% had seen their mothers beaten up, 10% had
witnessed sexual violence (NCH, 1994).
responses to witnessing domestic violence vary according to a
multitude of factors, including age, race, class, sex, stage of
development, role in the family, relationship with parent(s), and
the availability of sources of support outside the immediate family
situation (Saunders, 1995).
of all ages most often take some form of passive or active support
to protect their mothers when witnessing domestic violence (Hester
& Radford, 1996).
of all ages phone the police for assistance and a number of research
studies suggest that women often attribute their eventual escape to
the emotional and practical support provided by their children
in particular seek to protect younger siblings during violent
episodes and offer support or reassurance in the aftermath of
violent behaviour (Jaffe et al 1990).
they have contact with fathers after separation, children may take
on even greater responsibility to protect their mothers or siblings
from violence or neglect (Hester & Radford, 1996).
sometimes feel guilty if they do not come to the aid of their
mother. This 'guilt' is often accompanied by self blame and feelings
that they have in some way 'caused' their father to be violent
may also feel angry towards their mother for not protecting herself
or the children, as well as blaming her for causing the violence.
Others may be so concerned about their mother's distress that they
keep private their own grief (Saunders, 1995).
'adjustment difficulties' among children who witness domestic
violence include: increased levels of anxiety, psychosomatic
illnesses, including: headaches, abdominal complaints, asthma,
peptic ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, stuttering, enuresis; sadness,
withdrawal and fear; lower rating in social competence, particularly
for boys; a reduction in understanding social situations including
thoughts and feelings of people involved (Jaffe et al, 1990).
observable behavioural effects include: disobedience,
destructiveness in younger boys (Wolfe et al., 1985); nervous,
withdrawn and anxious demeanour in younger girls (Hughes, 1986);
more difficult temperaments and more aggressive behaviour in both
sexes (Holden and Ritchie, 1991); children running away from home
(Jaffe et al 1990).
of battered women will not necessarily grow up to be batterers or
victims of domestic violence themselves. No conclusive evidence
exists to support the 'intergenerational transmission of violence'
thesis or to show that there is a 'cycle of violence' (Mullender
& Morley, 1994
L. Arbitell, M. & McFerron, J. (1988) 'On The Relationship Between
Wife Beating And Child Abuse' in K. Yllo & M. Bograd (eds) Feminist
Perspectives On Wife Abuse, London Sage.
(1989) 'Violence Against Women As a Health Care Issue', Family Medicine,
21 : 368-373.
J. (1989) 'Women and Policing in Britain' in Hanmer, J. Radford, J.
& Stanko, E. (eds) Women, Policing and Male Violence, London :
M. & Radford, L. (1996) Domestic Violence and Child Contact
Arrangements in England and Denmark, Bristol : The Policy Press.
Marianne & Pearson, Chris (1998 June) Preventing Child Abuse:
Monitoring Domestic Violence, Bristol : The Policy Press.
(1990) Battered Women As Survivors, London: Routledge.
G. & Ritchie, K. (1991) 'Linking extreme marital discord, child
rearing and child behaviour problems: Evidence from battered women,
Child Development, 62 (2) April, 311-327.
H. (1986) 'Research with children in shelters: Implications for clinical
services', Children Today, 21-25.
H. (1992) 'Impact Of Spouse Abuse On Children Of Battered Women'
Violence Update, August 1, pp. 9-11.
H. Parkinson, D. & Vargo, M. (1989) 'Witnessing Spouse Abuse And
Experiencing Physical Abuse : A "Double Whammy"?', Journal Of
Family Violence, 4 (2) , pp. 197-209.
Wolfe, D. & Wilson, S., (1990) Children of Battered Women, London:
P. (1991) 'Family Violence : Towards A Family Oriented Public Policy',
Families In Society, 73, 574-6.
A. Cooper, L. & Kelly, L. (1988) What Support?, London : Hammersmith
& Fulham Council/Polytechnic of North London.
A. & Morley, R. (1994) (eds) Children Living Through Domestic
Violence : Putting Men's Abuse of Women on the Child Care Agenda, London
: Whiting & Birch.
Action For Children (1994) The Hidden Victims : Children And Domestic
Violence, London : NCH Action For Children.
A. (1995) It Hurts Me Too, London: Childline/Women's Aid Federation of
England/National Institute For Social Work.
Flitcraft, A. & Frazier, W. (1979) 'Medicine And Patriarchal
Violence : The Social Construction of A 'Private Event' , International
Journal of Health Services, 9 (3) pp.461-93).
L. (1985) The Battered Woman Syndrome, New York : Springer Press.
Jaffe, P. Wilson, S. & Zak, L. (1985) 'Children of battered women :
The relation of child behaviour to family violence and maternal stress'
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 657-665.