Understanding Domestic Violence: Beyond Physical Abuse

Introduction and background of domestic abuse

Domestic violence or the act of violence is not limited to the act of physical abuse and can be concluded as a repeated system of abusive behaviour to maintain control and power within a relationship. As per the study conducted by Myhill (2018), domestic abuses is termed as an incident of coercive, controlling, violent behaviour between those of 16 years or above or have been family members or intimate partners, irrespective of sexuality and gender. It comprises the following times of abuse:

mental torture

physically assaulting the victim

sexual abuse

refusal to meet the financial burden of the victim

emotionally abusing the victim


With the exception of dominating and coercive behaviour, which was termed as a criminal offence, other action of domestic violence or abuse fall under the generic category of offence in criminal justice records of the police, such as assault that gives rise to injury

Prevailing response towards domestic violence in Wales and England

The latest figures from the Criminal survey of Wales and England exhibit limited change in prevalence of domestic abuse related incidents in recent years. In 2018, 2 million adults within the age of 16 to 59 years were subjected to brutal cases of domestic abuse (1.3 million females and 695,000 men) (Ons.gov.uk, 2018). The police, on the other hand, showed poor performance in recording domestic abuse. A mere number of 599,549 crimes were recorded. The police made 225,714 arrests for domestic abuse-related offences that sums up to 38 arrests per 100 domestic abuse crimes reported and recorded with an increase of 23% from last year (Ons.gov.uk, 2018). The statistics provide a reflection that the police forces are improving their ways to record and identify the incidents of domestic abuse. Furthermore there is an increase in the number of victims to come forward.

The police found almost 599,549 domestic abuse-related cases in March 2018, an increase of 23% from the last year (Justiceinspectorates.gov.uk, 2018). This works on providing a clear idea about the possible hard work put by the police forces to try and stop the incidents related to domestic violence, while increasing the number of reports. Domestic abuse is a serious crime that is often concealed from the police and not reported properly even when revealed. Thus, the data gained by the police provides an incomplete picture in regards to the actual picture of domestic abuse is experienced. Many incidents fail to enter the process of criminal justice as they are not reported. The mentioned statement provides a clear idea the probable instances of domestic abuse victims is higher than the workload experienced by the police.

Increase in the number of domestic cases in the criminal justice system can be influenced on several factors. These are equally inclusive of the police forces enhancing their methods of identifying and recording the incidents related to domestic abuses as the increased willingness of victims come forward for reporting the incidents. Data on domestic abuse is often seen to reflect the possible support offered by the victims that may not be visible to the mentioned services. In addition to that, referrals can be made by a series of agencies or even the victim (Justiceinspectorates.gov.uk, 2018). Thus, the provision of the mentioned services may not be dependent on the event of reporting domestic abuse related incidents to the police. Additionally cases may drop out at any stage of the process. Data is additionally based on offences, suspects and victims and may be subjected to change in the way the incidents are identified. The mentioned factors, in combination with time lag due to the process of criminal justice can be termed as prime reason that influence the cases related to domestic violence

Criminal justice system and domestic abuse

Criminal justice system and domestic abuse

The datasets in the above figure cannot be compared directly. Collecting the needed information provides a clear reflection in regards to the level of attrition through the existing system of criminal justice. As stated by Mulvihill et al. (2019), victims of domestic abuse do not come directly to the police and it is for the same reason that the estimated number of victims tend to be higher. Out of the number of incidents reported, many fall short of the offences and thus not registered as crimes. As pointed out by Fitz-Gibbon and Walklate (2017), more than half of the domestic abuse related incidents recorded by the police do not lead to arrest. In similar regards, there remain a huge proportion of difficulties related to evidence while proceeding with prosecution. This statement reflects the possible challenges that are associated with investigation of domestic abuse related incidents while exhibiting the importance of case led based on proof being formed for the victim.

Police and domestic abuse

The overall response of the police to the victims of domestic abuse related incidents is not good. The situation does not seem to despite continuous service in the last ten years. In many forces there remains weakness in the range of services provided to the victims. As stated by Myhill and Hohl (2019), some weaknesses are serious and subject the victims to unnecessary risk, many forces need to embrace proactive action at this immediate instance. As opined by Griffith (2017), domestic abuse continues to remain a priority on paper among the police forces and not implemented in practice. Commissioners have recognized the importance of addressing domestic abuse in their crime plans; and produced a relative statement that tending the cases related to domestic abuse related cases is a priority for them. However, the stated intent is not operational in reality for most of the forces. As opined by Burton (2016), handling domestic abuse related incidents remains a poor relation in regards to serious organized crime and acquisitive crime. The fact contributing in the mentioned forces can be termed as follows; firstly, there is a lack of clear direction coupled with visible leadership formed by the senior officials. Secondly, there is an alarming and intolerable gap in activities carried out by the police, especially in collection of evidence from the crime spots.

Thirdly, unsatisfactory supervision and management fails to implement the correct attitude and behaviour among the officers. In addition to that, there is a clear failure to provide importance to the step by step action that needs to be undertaken for tackling the incidents related to domestic abuse on a daily basis. Officers lacking the needed knowledge and skills to engage with the victims of abuse in a confident manner is lacking from the scenario. Thus, it would be fair enough to conclude that the police need to undertake immediate actions for improving the effectiveness of existing services. If the mentioned intervention is rightly undertaken, then the victims can be rightly managed. Hester et al. (2017), identifies the immediate need to enhance the response of the police towards the victims of domestic abuse. However, the conclusion should not diminish the tireless work of officers and staff working in the special roles and frontlines. They are working their best way for keeping the victims safe, even in presence of limited support from the wider tribunal bodies. There remain limited laurels to be gathered to being a specialist in domestic abuse within the department of police services and often go unrecognized

Domestic abuse in police department

The “boys club” culture within the police department needs to be erased for perpetuating better progress within the department and even outside the department. The complaint was put forward by Centre for Women’s Justice, describing a series of forces failing when the officers report domestic violence against the partners they are in a relationship with. Central to the series of complaints are a dozen cases related to sexual and domestic abuse against an officer. Details revealed that a female officer claimed she was forced to quit her profession for making a complaint against her violent partner, a serving officer (Heal and Townsend, 2020).

The data from three fourth of the forces, exhibited the fact, police executives accused of conducting domestic abuse are less likely to be convicted in comparison to the common public. The victim in the mentioned case accused the police of not taking up stringent actions. The course of actions suggests the fact that the police force is solely interested in saving the reputation of the force. The victim trusted the police; however, the current course of action made the victim lose her trust over the police forces (Heal and Townsend, 2020). Thus, the act of cleansing the country and making it a safe place for people to survive against domestic abuse, the police force should stop protecting the bullies at higher ranks.

Domestic violence related deaths and funds

The deaths related to domestic violence is 15 times more as terrorism in Britain (Doward, 2019). The shocking statistics are provided by the campaigner who stands on behalf of the police to be given money to fight domestic abuse related issues. The disparity in the actual figures states the fact; the police budget for battling the issue of domestic violence must be implemented, as seen in case of terrorism. Official figures report 1,870 deaths between 2000 and 2018 in Wales and England due to domestic violence (Doward, 2019). Unfortunately, the incident of domestic violence is gender biased and majority of the victims are females (Myhill, 2018).

Costs related to detection and prevention of domestic violence related cases needs to be increased these days. The data since 2000 report the death of six thousand victims, mostly women-either murdered or committed suicide following bad events of domestic abuse. Police forces fail to reveal the amount of money and efforts being invested in addressing the issues related to domestic violence. The annual budget given to the intelligence agents for addressing issues related to terrorism is £2.6bn (Mulvihill et al. 2019). Funding to combat issues related to terrorism is being invested to greater extent, while services to support the victims of domestic abuse has been cut. However, it is equally true that funds for terrorism are not cut but the budget set aside for supporting the cases of domestic abuse needs to be increased. The mentioned issue needs to be taken as a matter of great concern for the next government.

On average the police receive an emergency call in relation to domestic violence in every thirty seconds (Griffith, 2017). Domestic abuse rose by 63% within a span of seven years in London; while at the similar instance, prosecutions are failing miserably (Burton, 2016). The complaint related to domestic abuse referred to prosecutors was subjected to 11% fall while the rates of crimes recorded by the police continued to rise (Hester et al. 2017). Thus, several perpetrators remain at large, as per the data and evidence provider. Police funding for the victims in such cases have been significantly reduced. It is thus important for the new government to give importance in solving incidents related to domestic abuse and allocating the needed funds (Bond and Tyrrell, 2018). The police must be provided with the needed resources to prosecute the guilty without delay.

Ways to improve the existing scenario

There remains no doubt about the fundamental gaps existing within the police services. As influenced by Smith (2017), the changes need to be swift and radical in nature for experiencing the positive expected outcomes. The essay therefore acts as a catalyst for the police forces and the associated administrative departments to make the changes. There is no doubt that victims did wait too long to get the justice they deserve.

each police power in England and Wales ought to build up and distribute an activity plan that determines in detail what steps it will adopt to improve its strategy to household misuse. This activity plan ought to be created; in interview with police and wrongdoing magistrates, household misuse bolster associations and casualties' delegates; after close thought of the considerable number of suggestions right now; concerning all significant local crime audits and IPCC discoveries, regardless of whether regarding the power being referred to or another power; and 20 (Bowstead, 2017). The activity plan ought to be built up based on best practice, in light of reconsidered pertinent direction from the College of Policing. To guarantee consistency, the College and the national policing lead on household misuse have consented to give exhortation on the zones that each arrangement should cover before the finish of April 2021. Boss officials in each police power ought to regulate and guarantee full usage of these activity plans. This ought to be a moral obligation for each situation. Police and wrongdoing chiefs should consider powers responsible right now (Westmarland et al. 2018). HMIC will assess powers' advancement on local maltreatment as a feature of its new yearly all-power examination program. Police and wrongdoing magistrates and boss constables ought to be called upon to report openly on progress, just as to the national oversight and observing gathering.

Information gathered on local maltreatment should be steady, tantamount, open furthermore, precise with the goal that it tends to be utilized to screen progress. This requires the Home Office to create national information measures corresponding to household misuse information (Gains and Lowndes, 2016). The information ought to be gathered by police powers and gave to the Home Office, for model as a major aspect of the yearly information return. These ought to incorporate information guidelines for the two violations and occurrences, and clear and unambiguous meanings of significant terms, for example, 'rehash casualty', to guarantee like-for-like examinations can be made. The Home Office ought to guarantee that the perspectives on casualties of household misuse are fused routinely and reliably into national checking courses of action (Karystianis et al. 2019).

Police power needs support by the way they target and oversee culprits of residential maltreatment. The College of Policing, through the national policing lead for local maltreatment, ought to disperse to powers instances of how powers are focusing on sequential and rehash residential maltreatment culprits so as to forestall future culpable (Thornton, 2017). The College's Works Center for Crime Reduction ought to give to powers proof about how successful projects of overseeing culprits accomplish decreases in residential misuse. They should work with divisions, for example, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, scholarly establishments and associations working with culprits to assemble a solid proof base right now. Police and wrongdoing magistrates ought to think about the discoveries and suggestions of this report when charging administrations for survivors of residential maltreatment. In specific, they should observe the solid worth put on the job of free aggressive behavior at home consultants by the people in question, police and other crook equity organizations (Karystianis et al. 2017).

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Based on the above study it can be conclusively stated it is important on basis of the above statement it would be fair enough to conclude that the aim to reduce incidents related to domestic violence can be reduced through the implementation of proactive measures. The administrative bodies need to ensure proactive participation to make sure that the needs of the common people are rightly addressed. It is easy to blame the police based on the evidence of protecting their forces; however, the general public should hold patience and report domestic abuses. The proactive actions among the people can ensure better rates of reporting and peace among the general public.

Reference list

Bond, E. and Tyrrell, K., 2018. Understanding revenge pornography: A national survey of police officers and staff in England and Wales. Journal of interpersonal violence, p.0886260518760011.

Bowstead, J.C., 2017. Women on the move: theorising the geographies of domestic violence journeys in England. Gender, Place & Culture, 24(1), pp.108-121.

Burton, M., 2016. A fresh approach to policing domestic violence. In Domestic Violence (pp. 37-57). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Fitz-Gibbon, K. and Walklate, S., 2017. The efficacy of Clare’s Law in domestic violence law reform in England and Wales. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 17(3), pp.284-300.

Gains, F. and Lowndes, V., 2016. How is Gender Implicated in Institutional Design and Change? The Role of Informal Institutions: A Case Study of Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales (No. 6). Working Paper in Gender and Institutional Change.

Griffith, R., 2017. Domestic violence protection measures. British journal of nursing, 26(13), pp.768-769.

Hester, M., Jones, C., Williamson, E., Fahmy, E. and Feder, G., 2017. Is it coercive controlling violence? A cross-sectional domestic violence and abuse survey of men attending general practice in England. Psychology of violence, 7(3), p.417.

Karystianis, G., Adily, A., Schofield, P., Knight, L., Galdon, C., Greenberg, D., Jorm, L., Nenadic, G. and Butler, T., 2019. Correction: Automatic extraction of mental health disorders from domestic violence police narratives: text mining study. Journal of medical internet research, 21(4), p.e13007.

Koskela, S.A., Pettitt, B. and Drennan, V.M., 2016. The experiences of people with mental health problems who are victims of crime with the police in England: A qualitative study. British journal of criminology, 56(5), pp.1014-1033.

Mulvihill, N., Gangoli, G., Gill, A.K. and Hester, M., 2019. The experience of interactional justice for victims of ‘honour’-based violence and abuse reporting to the police in England and Wales. Policing and society, 29(6), pp.640-656.

Myhill, A. and Hohl, K., 2019. The “golden thread”: Coercive control and risk assessment for domestic violence. Journal of interpersonal violence, 34(21-22), pp.4477-4497.

Myhill, A., 2018. The police response to domestic violence: Risk, discretion, and the context of coercive control

Smith, V., 2017. An Exploration into the Factors Shaping Victim Reporting of Partner Abuse to the Police. Manchester Rev. L. Crime & Ethics, 6, p.95.

Thornton, S., 2017. Police Attempts to Predict Domestic Murder and Serious Assaults: Is Early Warning Possible Yet?. Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing, 1(2-3), pp.64-80.

Welch, D., 2016. Domestic abuse-a continuing problem for police. Australasian Policing, 8(1), p.10.

Westmarland, N., Johnson, K. and McGlynn, C., 2018. Under the radar: The widespread use of ‘out of court resolutions’ in policing domestic violence and abuse in the United Kingdom. The British Journal of Criminology, 58(1), pp.1-16.

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