Berkshire Womens' Aid (BWA) provide advice and support to people who fear, or have experienced domestic abuse at home, or in a relationship. Please call their helpline on 0118 950 4003 for more information.
For information and advice for anyone in an abusive relationship where there are children, or for anyone concerned that a child is being exposed to violence and abuse at home, please see the effects on children leaflet.
Whilst the majority of victims of domestic abuse are women, men may also suffer domestic abuse from a partner or ex-partner, either male or female. It appears that male victims are more likely to suffer psychological, emotional and financial abuse than physical abuse. Male victims tend not to suffer abuse for the prolonged periods that women endure, but that is not to say that some male victims do suffer severe domestic abuse.
The abuse of the elderly is increasingly being recognised as a serious social problem and as populations continue to age it is likely that it will continue to increase in the future. The range of abuse endured is similar to other types of domestic abuse and includes verbal, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, but the elderly can be especially vulnerable to economic or financial abuse and neglect. Action on elder abuse defines elder abuse as: A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. Where this abuse is carried out by a partner or family member, this is domestic abuse.
An arranged marriage is not the same as a forced marriage. In an arranged marriage, the families take a leading role in choosing the marriage partner. The marriage is entered into freely by both people. However, in some cases, one or both people are ‘forced’ into a marriage that their families want. A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the valid consent of both people, where pressure or abuse is used. You might be put under both physical pressure (when someone threatens to or actually does hurt you), or emotional pressure (for example, when someone makes you feel like you’re bringing shame on your family) to get married. See page 37-39 of the practitioners guide to domestic abuse.
The Association of Chief Police Officers defines honour based violence as: “A crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community members.” Murders in the name of so-called honour are murders in which victims, predominantly women, are killed for perceived immoral behaviour, which is deemed to have breached the honour code of a family or community, causing shame. They are sometimes called ‘honour killings’.
MARAC stands for Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference. Key Bracknell practitioners meet every month to discuss high risk victims of domestic abuse and in a single meeting, a domestic violence MARAC combines up to date risk information with a timely assessment of a victim’s needs and links those directly to the provision of appropriate services for all those involved in a domestic violence case: victim, children and perpetrator (CAADA, 2007)
Independent domestic violence advisers. The main purpose of IDVAs is to address the safety of victims at high risk of harm from intimate partners, ex-partners or family members to secure their safety and the safety of their children. Serving as a victim’s primary point of contact, IDVAs normally work with their clients from the point of crisis to assess the level of risk, discuss the range of suitable options and develop safety plans (CAADA, 2008). Bracknell IDVAs are employed through Berkshire Women’s Aid.