Definition of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is often misunderstood as physical violence or hitting only, rather than the range of violent and abusive behaviour it encompasses. This may include: emotional, sexual, physical, financial or psychological abuse. For this reason some people prefer to use the phrase ‘domestic abuse’ or will use both ‘violence’ and ‘abuse’.
The lack of an agreed definition means that service providers and researchers often use ‘domestic violence’ in different ways. Sometimes it refers to physical violence only and they fail to acknowledge other aspects of domestic violence, for example, psychological abuse, which women report as being more damaging than the shorter term effects of physical violence.
The Home Office defines domestic violence as “any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship, or between family members. It can affect anybody regardless of their gender or sexuality. The violence can be psychological, physical, sexual or emotional. It can include honour based violence, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage”.
The Home Office also stresses the “pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which an abuser seeks power over their family member or partner” as well as the connection between adult domestic violence and child abuse.
Generally, when one type of abuse exists, it is coupled with other forms as well; they might just not be quite so noticeable unless you are aware of the types of abuse and how the belief systems associated with abusive behaviour manifest themselves.
Alcohol’s relationship with domestic violence is a controversial and sensitive subject.
On one hand, drinking alcohol is rooted in British history and widely used to toast celebrations and other social occasions.
Drinking to intoxication is generally tolerated, as is the behaviour which comes with being drunk. Drunken behaviour can often be seen as amusing, irritating and sometimes embarrassing, but never-the-less it represents a time out from normal codes of conduct.
On the other hand, when drinking to intoxication causes behaviour such as violence, the lines of responsibility and accountability become blurred and our acceptance of alcohols effect on behaviour jars with our sense of right and wrong.
Alcohol does not cause domestic violence, but there is evidence that where domestic violence exists, alcohol is often present.
If you are worried or concerned about someone you know suffering from Domestic Violence, please call Humberside Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively there are many charities available, offering support, advice and counselling.
Launch of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs)
A new order called ‘Domestic Violence Protection Orders’ (DVPOs) will be nationally available in the coming months, banning perpetrators from contacting the victim or entering their home, giving victims of domestic abuse the time, space and support to plan a safer future.
A DVPO which is granted by a Magistrates Court, prevents an abuser from contacting the victim. Any abusers who breach their Order can be sentenced for up to six weeks in prison.
It is hoped thanks to the Domestic Violence Protection Order which is being made nationally available by the middle of the year, victims of domestic violence who contact the police for help will have time to turn their lives around thanks to the severe restriction imposed by the order, and allow the victim enough time to know what life could be like away from a destructive or dangerous relationship; gaining confidence that they can be free from harm.
Detective Inspector Aiden Clarke, from Humberside Police’s Protecting Vulnerable Person’s Unit, said: “Many victims of domestic violence suffer for many months if not years, before asking for help. The reason for this could possibly be attributed to the fact the victim is too scared of their abusive partner and fearful of what would happen once the offender is released from a police custody suite. A DVPO could literally change a person’s life.
“Whilst the order is in place it will allow the victim to be free from abuse and possibly start a whole new life.
“DVPOs will allow police officers to act instantly to safeguard families living in the Humberside area. The Orders will be used to intervene in cases where police are worried about violent behaviour within a household, where a criminal justice outcome is not possible and where a DVPN would be appropriate.
“In the past an option for the police and partners would be to remove the victim and their family away from their home to a place of safety where there was no other alternative. However, under the Home Office’s new order, the perpetrator is the one who has to move out of the home and who is held to account, allowing the victims to stay in their own homes rather than flee to a friend's home, or a refuge, to escape their abuser.
“The courts can order the perpetrator not to go near the victim for up to 28 days. That allows the victim to take stock and decide where they want to be. They can get help from Victim Support Services, solicitors, partnership and other support services who can draw up a safety plan.
“Our message to the people who suffer domestic abuse is that you are a victim of crime. It is not your fault and you do not have to put up with such behaviour.
“We know that a lot of victims suffer in silence but I would like to reassure them that we have dedicated and specially trained officers who work closely with other agencies, including Women’s Aid and Victim Support Service to ensure that victims are fully supported and given help and advice on how to stop the abuse.
“So, even if you don’t feel able to tell the police what is happening, please tell someone who you can trust. Our overriding concern is for your safety and that of any children you might have.”