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Awareness on what constitutes domestic violence abysmally low among women and more so in younger group

Date: (6 March 2013)    |    

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A research by domestic violence charities has found that knowledge among women on what constituted domestic violence was ‘shockingly low’.
The term domestic violence was shrouded in myth and misunderstanding for many with no awareness of the issue, yet more than half of the women questioned said that they knew or suspected that someone in their life had experienced domestic violence and two women were being killed in England and Wales every week by their current or former partners.
The campaign Out In Her Name’ commissioned by Avon UK in combination with Refuge and Women’s Aid was presented at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday evening in the hope that domestic violence would be given the same importance as other high profile issues such as drink driving. The three charities believe that education would be key to improving awareness and changing attitudes of future generations.
A symbolic walk by a group of women, survivors, families of victims and campaigners, was held at the Westminster Bridge in a hope to commemorate the women who died as a result of domestic violence.
A survey of 2,000 women aged 16-55 revealed a lack of understanding about what domestic violence is, with more than half (56.6%) of women saying they either disagreed or did not know if excessive jealousy counted as domestic violence.
Inquired whether they knew going through partners electronic messages counted as domestic violence 47 percent disagreed or said they did not know and asked if they were aware that a partner making all the monetary decision was domestic violence some 35 percent disagreed and 16 per cent said they did not know.
As was obvious physical and sexual violence was widely recognised as domestic violence by most but the younger lot still had their doubts. One in five questioned in 16 to 18 year olds claim ignorance or being unsure about a partner forcing them to have sex or other sexual activities constituted domestic violence, while 18% did not think or were unsure if slapping or hitting was a sign of domestic violence.
When questioned what they should do if they came across experiencing domestic violence 70 percent said that they should call a domestic violence helpline. But only 58 percent said that they would do it themselves and among the younger women this dropped further.
Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said having opened the world’s first "Refuge IN 1971 it had worked hard to bring domestic violence out of the shadows but it was still shrouded in myth and misunderstanding and the Government had to take up powerful awareness-raising campaigns to change the attitudes among sufferers.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said it was a very terrifying thought that many young women were not even aware who to approach for help if they were experiencing domestic violence.