This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

Factsheet: A few home truths about domestic violence

Resource

Domestic violence - more common than street violence Children suffer harm and untold distress Most violence is not reported, and not acted upon when reported No money, nowhere to go Child Support Act has increased violence against women and children REFERENCES Domestic violence - more common than street violence

  • 1 woman in 4 (some claim 1 in 3) has experienced domestic violence. (1)
  •  86% were slapped or punched, 63% were strangled, 61% kicked, 61% struck with an object, 83% had bruises or black eyes, 50% had cuts, 23% had broken bones, 40% had been to hospital for their injuries. (2)
  •  Almost half (46%) were forced by their partner to have sex, 23% were 'raped with threats', 18% 'raped with violence'. (2)
  •  1 in 7 of all married women are raped by their husbands. (3)
  •  Almost half of all homicides of women are by a partner or ex-partner. About 100 women are killed in this way in Britain each year, or two every week. (4)
  •  4 out of 10 single mothers who had lived with their child's father said that quarrels had led to physical violence. (5)
  •  Medical studies report that between 1 in 10 and 1 in 5 pregnant women are violently attacked by their partners during the pregnancy. (6)
  •  A woman rings Women’s Aid somewhere in Britain every 2½ minutes every day of the year. (7)
  • The risk of suffering domestic violence is the same for women of all ethnic groups. (8)
  • Children suffer harm and untold distress
  • In up to 90% of cases the children witnessed their mother being attacked. In 45-70% the father inflicted violence on the children as well as the mother. (9)
  •  10% of the mothers were sexually abused in front of their children. 27% of the partners had also assaulted the children, including sexually. (2) 86% of mothers said there were longterm effects on their children: 1/3 said the children became violent and aggressive, including towards their mother; 31% developed problems at school; 31% had low-self-esteem. (2) Most violence is not reported, and not acted upon when reported
  • Up to 98% of domestic violence is not reported to police. (10)
  •  2 out of 3 mothers told no one at first. The average time before telling someone is 1 to 2 years. 2 For 70% of mothers it was hard to tell professionals about children's problems caused by violence. 81% felt guilty; 74% feared the children would be taken away. (2)
  • On average it takes 35 assaults before a case comes to court. 11 There is little systematic recording or monitoring of domestic violence. Sanctions against violent men are so weak as to protect them. Even in Islington, with a project called "Domestic Violence Matters" in police stations:
  • 58% of incidents were no-crimed (ie not recorded as an offence).
  • Only 26% of all cases and 63% of "crimed" (recorded) cases led to an arrest.
  • Even in cases where there were visible injuries and the perpetrator was present, arrest occurred in only 45% of cases. (12)
  • No money, nowhere to go
  • 4 out of 5 women raped by their husbands are trapped by lack of resources: no money and nowhere to go. (3)
  •  Nearly two-thirds of Britain’s homeless women are living on the streets because they have been the victims of domestic violence. (13)
  •  More than 50,000 women and children flee their homes each year to seek shelter in refuges but up to three-quarters find there is nowhere to go. (14)
  • 59% of women who leave abusive partners return to them owing to lack of suitable accommodation.(15)  
  • Child Support Act has increased violence against women and children
  • Single mothers on Income Support are forced by the CSA into contact with children's’ fathers to get maintenance; risking violence against them and their children. 75% of single mothers refuse to co-operate with the CSA because of "harm or undue distress". 66% of mothers left their relationship because of concern about the effects of violence on their children. (2)
  • Even then, courts almost always award child contact to fathers. Out of 46 cases where fathers were granted contact, only in 7 were provisions made to prevent further abuse. (16)
  •  Police have said they want no part in moves to verify single mothers' claims that they fear reprisals from ex-partners if they co-operate with the Child Support Agency. Met. Police Cmdr. Kendrick told MPs that police intervention could be 'extremely dangerous' for women and would 'not assist the situation'. (17)

 

REFERENCES (1) The Hidden Figure: Domestic Violence in North London, Jayne Mooney, Middlesex Univ., 1993 found 1 in 3 experienced domestic violence, even excluding cases where women are raped by their partners, subjected to mental cruelty, threatened, grabbed, shaken or pushed. A British Medical Association report, Domestic Violence, a Health Care Issue, 1998 found one in four experienced domestic violence, including rape. In the 1996 British Crime Survey 23% of women had been assaulted by a partner. (2) The Hidden Victims, Children and Domestic Violence, NCH Action for Children, 1994. (3) Ask Any Woman, a London inquiry into rape and sexual assault, Ruth E Hall, Falling Wall Press, Bristol 1985. 4 Homicide statistics 1998. (5) Lone Parents, Work and Benefits: the first effects of the CSA to 1994, DSS report No 61, HMSO, 1997. (6) Guardian Weekend, 1 May 1999; Independent on Sunday, 5 Dec 1999. 7 The Guardian, 20 Oct 1998, p8. (8) British Crime Survey 1996. (9) Domestic Violence: A Health Care Issue? BMA, 1998 10 For an overview of estimates, see Domestic Violence, Lorna J. F. Smith, Home Office Research and Planning Unit, HMSO 1989 p7. (11) Home Secretary Jack Straw; The Guardian, 3 June 1999, p9. (12) Domestic Violence Matters: an Evaluation of a Development Project, Research Findings No. 91, Home Office 1999. (13) The Independent, 1 Jun 1999, p8 (Centre for Housing Policy, Univ. of York). 14 The Guardian, 8 Jan 2000, p12 (Homerton College, Cambridge). (15) Campaign Against Domestic Violence. (16) Domestic violence and child contact arrangmenets in England and Denmark, Marianne Hester & Lorraine Radford, Univ. of Bristol, 1999. The 46 cases were in England. (17) The Guardian, 6 Jun 1996. Women Against Rape A grassroots multi-racial women's group, established in 1976

The research for this leaflet has been done mostly by unwaged volunteers. Our other work includes pressing for justice, protection, compensation and other resources for all survivors of rape and sexual assault, including racist sexual assault and domestic violence. We are very grateful to the Maypole Trust for helping to fund the production and circulation of this leaflet. Donations are very much needed.

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