Last year one in every fifteen women, and one in every 33 men experienced domestic abuse at the hands of their partner or former partner. A quarter of women and just over a tenth of men have experienced this kind of abuse at some point in their adult lives. Around a third of those who are victimised, experienced ‘severe force’, and for some this is an almost continuous feature of their lives: three per cent of victims experienced abuse in the previous year “more than 50 times or too many times to count”. Specialists - in the form of refuges, legal professionals and police, and helplines or support services - play a critical role for many victims. However, many victims don’t engage with these groups, and this is the problem we are addressing.
This September saw the launch of the Talk about abuse campaign focusing on informal networks of friends, family, neighbours or colleagues. Friends and family may be able to support victims where others might not be able to. We want to enable ordinary people to recognise abuse, to talk about it safely and enable victims to make the right decisions for themselves. While it is a difficult and delicate, we know that proactively talking about whether somebody is experiencing abuse - rather than waiting for them to broach the subject - makes it easier for victims to disclose. This campaign is about communicating a clear message to encourage and guide ordinary people to look for signs of domestic abuse among friends and family, and to talk about abuse. Find out more about this campaign: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/talkaboutabuse/