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A link in the chain: The role of friends and family in tackling domestic abuse

Despite increasing policy attention and changing attitudes, domestic abuse is a feature of many relationships. Last year 1 in 15 women, and 1 in 33 men experienced domestic abuse at the hands of their partner or former partner. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced this kind of abuse at some point in their adult lives. Around a third of those who are victimised experience ‘severe force’, and for some this is an almost continuous feature of their lives: 3 per cent of victims experienced abuse in the previous year “more than 50 times or too many times to count.”

The bleak reality is that these aren’t some isolated incidents or a few individuals; domestic abuse is a ‘normal’ feature of many relationships. For the most part, domestic abuse stays under the radar of the justice system. Only 27 per cent of female victims and 10 per cent of male victims report to the police, often after years of escalating abuse. For most people domestic abuse remains officially unreported, and little spoken about.