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One in three women have suffered domestic violence, says Refuge

Charity launches campaign with ITV’s Loose Women

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive, Refuge

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge

Refuge, the support charity for women and children suffering domestic violence,  has teamed up with ITV's Loose Women to launch a new domestic violence campaign.

To mark the launch of the campaign, Refuge and Loose Women have released the results of a YouGov survey which showed that: 

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge appeared on Loose Women on Wednesday 17th September to comment on the findings of the survey.

Sandra Horley said:

"Victims of domestic violence often feel trapped and isolated.  They may feel ashamed of what has happened to them, or they may be fearful of speaking out. The results from the survey confirm this – showing that 35% of women reported that they would not want anyone to know if they were experiencing domestic violence.

"The survey also showed that domestic violence is still shrouded in myth and misunderstanding.  Many women believe that domestic violence is a private matter, and that it is caused when someone is unable to control their temper.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Domestic violence is all about power and control.  It is purposeful, systematic, patterned behaviour designed to exert control over a partner.

"The truth is that domestic violence is not a private matter.  It is a huge social issue that affects the whole of our society.  We all have a role to play in ending this horrific crime – and we must start by speaking out about it.

"I would urge anyone experiencing domestic violence to remember that you are not alone. Thousands of women experience domestic violence every single day in this country. Refuge can help you to stay safe. Visit Refuge for support."

YouGov polled 2,244 women. For the purposes of the poll 'domestic violence' was defined as 'any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (ie. psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are (or have been) intimate partners, regardless of gender or sexuality'.

The survey showed that, out of the women surveyed who had not told anyone about their experience of domestic violence, nearly half (43%) didn't think it was serious enough to get others involved; 33% thought it was a private matter between themselves and their partner; 14% thought their partner's behaviour was a normal part of being in a relationship and 11% were worried they would not be taken seriously.

One fifth of victims (20%) revealed that they experienced domestic violence at the hands of more than one partner.

Over two-fifths (41%) of those surveyed claimed to know someone who is or has been a victim and yet one in six (17%) of these women hadn't taken action.

Almost a quarter (23%) of those who refrained from intervening said they did so because they thought it was a private matter. 14% didn't know how to help or who to contact and 5% were too afraid of the victim's partner to raise the alarm.

An update of recent developments concerning the law and practice related to the prevention of domestic violence, written by Mandip Ghai of Rights of Women, is here