Domestic violence can affect any one of us, regardless of background. Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) states 1.2 million women aged 15-59 have experienced domestic violence in the year March 2016/17.
Theresa May recently made an announcement that we at JAN Trust believe is much needed. A reform to the Domestic Violence Bill, meaning that it will now address the issue of financial control something JAN Trust has been lobbying for over a number of years, as well as other forms of non-physical abuse.
Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in March 2017, found that 46 out of 100 of reported incidents of domestic violence resulted in arrests and of that a staggering 32% of incidents were violent. It is important to mention these figures are based only on reported incidents, as we know domestic violence is a crime that goes largely unreported. Economically, the estimated cost of providing services and the lost economic output to victims reach an eye-watering £15.8 billion annually in the UK.
This new proposed bill will now encourage tougher sentences, where children are involved. The Bill also gives more protection to victims, with a new domestic abuse protection order, allowing the authorities to mediate in a crisis situation sooner. The bill has also encouraged the creation of a domestic abuse commissioner, to help safeguard victims further.
Moreover, the Domestic Violence Bill has made the announcement of providing £20m for accommodation-based services such as refuges. This is a huge success as more women will have a temporary shelter for when they make the courageous decision to leave an abusive partner. In addition, the bill gives domestic abuse victims the same status in court as those who have suffered modern slavery or sex offences.
Through our work, over the last 30 years, we have worked with many women who seek shelter at a refuge, their experiences can result in them becoming increasingly isolated and become at increased risk of suffering from severe mental health issue, including suicidal thoughts. A combination of these leaves women at grave risk. Refuges are often underfunded and over stretched meaning that women are unable to receive the full support they require, this is where a service like JAN Trust is so vital for these women.
Here at JAN Trust, we support the bill entirely; over 99% of our beneficiaries who have suffered domestic violence are women. As a result, we see how their children suffer, creating a vicious cycle of violence. Over time, the behaviour becomes normalised for the children.
We believe education is a key element to tackling domestic abuse; we want to continue bringing women together, encouraging them to speak out and express themselves about the issues that are impacting them. Through our services, we provide a safe haven for women where they are comfortable to express how they feel and more importantly they have become confident overall.
Support must continue to organisations such as JAN Trust, as we provide the necessary care for marginalised BAMER women. Funding must continue in order to support women in these dire situations, at our centre women are able to seek advice and learn new skills with our courses. With our services they also find themselves making new friends, creating a community of women who have become empowered and educated.
Visit us at http://www.jantrust.org to read more about the services we provide and the testimonials of our users.