This Violent Home Life; Domestic Violence Is a Part of Every Community. but It Shouldn't Be. Bridget Bailey Lifts the Lid on the Level of Abuse - and Why It Needs to Stop

Article excerpt

Byline: Bridget Bailey

TODAY'S woman is strong, independent and has the world at her feet - yet at least one in three will experience domestic violence at some time in her life.

These statistics are shocking, but with only a quarter of domestic violence crimes reported, the actual volume of women suffering in silence is much higher. And this suffering doesn't just start, or stop at physical attacks.

The Metropolitan Police Service defines domestic violence as any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or who have been, intimate partners or family members.

It is also evident across all social groups, regardless of age, culture and sexual orientation, disability, single, married or cohabiting.

The rate of domestic violence in Wales is fairly high, yet due to the amount of help offered by organisations such as Welsh Women's Aid, a national voluntary (not-for-profit) organisation, it is beginning to stabilise.

Between March 2001 and April 2002, Welsh Women's Aid provided refuge accommodation for 1,873 women and 3,095 children. The organisation also supports a daily average of 1,000 children affected by domestic abuse.

Lata Griffith-Unny, spokeswoman for Welsh Women's Aid which has a network of 32 member groups throughout Wales said: ``While the problem is not decreasing, it has reached a plateau due to the amount of services available.

``This means intervention arrives sooner and prevents the abuse escalating. However, we have seen a huge surge in women using our outreach services.''

Most abused women don't seek help because they're either terrified of their partner, wrongly blame themselves, or hope that the attack was a `one off'.

Only 10pc (of domestic violence to women) involves one isolated incident and 90pc of cases involve systematic, repeated violence throughout the relationship. …