Recently I went to Cornwall with my family and while I was there the shocking story broke regarding a man, Shane Jenkin, who had blinded his girlfriend by gouging her eyes.
He had admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He also beat her, fracturing her jaw and breaking her nose.
Many national news outlets covered the story over the Easter period and he is due to be sentenced next month.
As I listened to a number of the interviews that his victim conducted on TV & radio one comment really stuck out and that was “he had gone too far this time’’. The phrase “this time” was a sure sign other incidents had probably happened in the past.
Whilst this was an extreme example of Domestic Violence/Abuse there are many, many cases where violence/abuse takes place within a domestic environment.
According to Women’s Aid (they are a key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children and support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK) there are a number of different definitions of domestic violence. In Women’s Aid’s view, domestic violence is physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence 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.
The ACPO definition of domestic violence is: ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.’ (Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.)
Domestic violence often includes a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are, in themselves, inherently ‘violent’ – hence some people prefer to use the term ‘domestic abuse’ rather than ‘domestic violence’.
Domestic violence is very common: research shows that it affects one in four women in their lifetime. Two women a week are killed by their partners or former partners. All forms of domestic violence – psychological, financial, emotional and physical – come from the abuser’s desire for power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. Domestic violence is repetitive and life-threatening.
Crime statistics and research show that domestic violence tends be 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.
Men can also experience violence from their partners (both within gay and straight relationships); Mankind Initiative, a charity that supports male victims of Domestic Abuse believe that 1 in 6 men will experience Domestic Abuse in their lifetime.
Although every situation is unique, there are common factors that link the experience of an abusive relationship. Acknowledging these factors is an important step in preventing and stopping the abuse. This list can help you to recognise if you, or someone you know, are in an abusive relationship
- Destructive criticism and verbal abuse
- Pressure tactics: sulking; threatening to withhold money, disconnecting the telephone, taking the car away, taking the children away, or reporting you to welfare agencies unless you comply with their demands
- Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people; not listening or responding when you talk; interrupting your telephone calls
- Breaking trust: lying to you; withholding information from you; being jealous
- Harassment: following you; checking up on you; not allowing you any privacy (for example, opening your mail), repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you
- Threats: making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting you down; destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls
- Physical violence: punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing;
- Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen; saying you caused the abusive behaviour; being publicly gentle and patient; crying and begging for forgiveness; saying it will never happen again
The priorities of the Police Service in responding to domestic violence are as follows:
- To protect the lives of both adults and children who are at risk as a result of domestic violence;
- To investigate all reports of domestic violence;
- To facilitate effective action against offenders so that they can be held accountable through the criminal justice system;
- To adopt a proactive multi-agency approach in preventing and reducing domestic violence.
It is recognised that it takes a lot of courage to actually pick up the phone and make that call, or to tell a friend/family member but there are many areas of support.
Obviously there is 999 and your local Police. You can also attend a Police Station and speak to an officer in private.
Women’s Aid can be contacted on 0808 2000 247, this is a 24 hour helpline.
Mankind Initiative can be contacted on 01823 3344. Their confidential helpline is staffed from Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm and 7pm – 9pm
Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum on 01902-572345
The Haven Wolverhampton-24hr referral line on 01902 713001, Office: 01902 572140
Asian Women’s Adhikar Association on 01902 571260
Broken Rainbow UK offer support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experiencing domestic violence. They can be contacted on 0300 9995428. Their phone is staffed Mon 2pm – 8pm, Wed 10am – 5pm, Thurs 2pm – 8pm.
Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247. They provide support for victims of ‘honour’ based domestic violence
Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90
Victim Support on 0300 303 1977
I appreciate that this has been a serious topic for this blog and yet even a short article like this only scratches the surface of such a serious issue.
If you are or you know someone experiencing these sorts of problems please direct them towards the support listed above.
The next Public Meeting that we are attending is the Police Liaison Group for Claregate/Tettenhall on Thursday 10th May at 7pm at The Claregate Public House.
Police officers will be available from 6pm onwards should anyone prefer a 1-2-1 chat
Information supplied by
Police Sgt 2094 Dave Willetts
tel: 101 ext 7601 6154