East Devon District Council

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Guide East and Mid Devon Community Safety Partnership plans

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4. Tackle domestic abuse

Raise public awareness of the issues and the support services available

Domestic violence and abuse is the largest cause of death for women worldwide and statically is higher than war, cancer or motor vehicle accidents. Two women per week in England and Wales die as a result of this crime and 30 men die per year. At some point during their lives at least one in four women and one in six men are affected by domestic abuse.

There are a number of different definitions of domestic abuse. It is generally regarded as physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. This can include forced marriage and so-called honour crimes.

Many people in East and Mid Devon may have the view that Domestic Abuse does not happen where they live. This is a common misconception. Domestic Abuse happens everywhere. In the 12 months to the end of January 2012, 588 domestic abuse crimes were reported to the Police across East and Mid Devon. Between April 2011 and January 2012, Stop Abuse For Everyone received 130 referrals for East Devon, 114 referrals for Mid Devon and 47 referrals to the Young Person’s worker for East and Mid Devon.

It has an enormous effect on the children in the family and their response to it will vary. It may show in emotional disturbance, or poor school attendance and achievement. Nearly three quarters of children considered at risk by social services are living in households where one of their parents/carers is abusing the other. A high proportion of these children are themselves being abused – either physically or sexually - by the same perpetrator.

Crime statistics and research both show that domestic abuse is gender specific – that is, it is most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men, particularly when there is a pattern of repeated and serious physical assaults, or when it includes rape or sexual assault.

Men can also experience violence from their partners, both within gay and straight relationships. Any person can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. It can begin at any time during a

relationship; it is rarely a one-off event and often increases in frequency and severity over a period of time.

There is no single identifiable type of perpetrator. Domestic abuse cuts across all boundaries of social group, class, age, race, religion, culture, disability, sexuality, and lifestyle.