Current UK statistics relating to domestic violence within intimate relationships other than between a heterosexual couple are somewhat limited, as is the research. However, whilst it is widely accepted that violence between intimate partners is predominantly male against female, there is increasing acknowledgement that domestic violence is on occasions perpetrated by women against men, and occurs within same-sex relations. Equally, there is a range of clients who, because of their individual circumstances, possess explicit needs. This chapter explores domestic violence and abuse in the context of women's abuse against men, and abuse in same-sex and transgender relationships. It will also investigate the specific challenges related to domestic abuse faced by women of colour, and other women whose ethnicity determines the patriarchal structure of family, marriage, and partnerships. Finally, the chapter focuses on the manner in which religious tenets can influence family structures and thus the responses of individuals within an abusive relationship.
According to the Mirlees-Black British Crime Survey (BCS) (1999), 14.9 per cent of men surveyed reported being victims of domestic violence, compared to 22.7 per cent of the women surveyed. In Criminal Statistics for England and Wales (1997), it was noted that 8 per cent of male homicide victims were killed by their female partners, in contrast to 47 per cent of women killed by their male partners or ex-partners.
To deny that women can, and do on occasions, subject their male partners to violence and abuse would be naive in the extreme. There can be no doubt that some women can, and do, bully and intimidate their male partners to the point where the man requires outside intervention. The man may have to resort to accessing legal services, including the police service, and to health services. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the vast majority of violence within intimate relationships is perpetrated by men against women.