Domestic Violence Laws in the UK are Not Protecting Victims

content warning: domestic violence

Domestic abuse law is defined by behaviour that is controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality.    

In the last five years Domestic Abuse Laws in the UK have changed and become more clear in their stance of what is domestic abuse. Laws in 2015 for example meant that controlling and coercive behaviour is illegal and abusive. Most recent changes come in the forms of funding charities and support services according to the Government website. Yet, despite these changes, certain groups in society are still disadvantaged when it comes to either reporting crime or the support services afterwards.

There is no clarification on Government legalisation for abused women with insecure immigration status. Meaning, that the laws won’t protect them or they will not report crimes in fear that they’ll be deported or detained. Many migrant women are also barred from support and refuges because they don’t have the same access to public funds. By not creating laws that could protect these women, crimes are going unreported which could be a huge influence of death tolls as a result of domestic abuse. Women from immigration backgrounds should not have to put their life on the line and should feel safe and protected when reporting these crimes.

In addition to this, It’s been proven, that exposure to domestic abuse can have long term damaging affects on a child’s mental health. Especially, when the abusive relationship in one in the house. However, children are only considered a witness in these cases, and are not given a status as a victim. Not only does this undermine the suffering that a child may have endured but it also prevents them from being able to get a personal justice.

It must also be added that even with legalisation, it’s been proven that many domestic abuse victims have been left alone. As they are unable to get support because of ‘location lottery’. As in some areas there’s a higher volume of domestic abuse victims, thus support services are full. Therefore, governments should be introducing more funding into these support programs and introducing specific ones for different areas. Domestic Abuse should also become a compulsory topic to cover at school; schools could educate young people on the signs of abuse, the helplines they could use (including anonymous ones) and how to help friends who they know have experienced/witnessed abusive relationships.

Domestic Abuse is often stigmatised, as it’s often presented as a man hitting a woman, when in fact it can come in various forms. Any intimate relationships, either one within a family or outside that is abusive is legally domestic. This can happen to men as well, who often are expected to ‘man-up’ in the face of the abuser. This unfair stereotype means that a lot of men are too afraid to report domestic abuse in fear of being mocked or not being taken as seriously. Any abuse from someone in a position of trust is damaging, no matter what the relationship is or gender. Programs within schools or charities should receive funding in order to help break the taboos of domestic abuse in order to allow more people to confidently open up.

Domestic Abuse Helplines:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 (www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/)

The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327 The Mix,

The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123

Rights of Women advice lines, there are a range of services available

free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123

Rights of Women advice lines, there are a range of services available

Categories: Article, Opinion

Ruby Wood

English literature student, makes cocktails for a living and writes passionately
twitter;@thisisnotruby

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