Domestic Violence and the Evidence Context

Nov 28, 2013, 05:02 PM

Clare Perkins, Director of PHE's North West Knowledge & Intelligence Team, explains the evidence base for domestic violence: what it is, who it affects, how we prevent it. Transcript INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE (sometimes referred to as Domestic Violence) is a serious, but preventable public health problem.

In 2011/12, 7.3% of women and 5% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the last year according to the Crime Survey for England & Wales. This is equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million female victims and 800,000 male victims.

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE is defined as any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship. There are four main types (Saltzman et al. 2002):

• Physical violence • Sexual violence and • Threats of physical or sexual violence and Psychological/emotional violence – this can include humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. In addition, stalking is often included among the types. The most common forms of INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE are non-physica,l including emotional and financial abuse. INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE can vary in frequency and severity. It occurs on a continuum, ranging from one episode to chronic, severe abuse and violence. Not everyone is equally at risk of Intimate Partner Violence. Victims are more likely to be:

• Female • At a Younger age • From a Low household income • Being single, co-habiting, separated or divorced • & Living in areas of high physical disorder

They are more likely to

• Consume alcohol (victim and perpetrators) • Have a controlling and jealous partner • Be a perpetrator or victim of childhood abuse • Live in communities where there is gender inequality and where • Cultural norms are tolerant of violence

The health and social effects of intimate partner violence can be severe and wide-ranging and can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. The consequences can include physical injuries and chronic conditions; anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. In addition, experience of INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE is linked to risky behaviours such as tobacco, alcohol and drug misuse, often as a way of coping.

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE is not just a problem for the men and women who experience it but also for children who observe it. Much like infections, violence in contagious. For instance, exposure to violence as a child makes an individual more likely to be involved in violence in later life. We need to break this vicious cycle.

The costs of INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE can be substantial. In 2004, the cost of domestic violence in England and Wales was estimated to be £23 billion per year.

The goal for public health is to recognize and prevent INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE and it can be prevented.

In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, there are a range of programmes and interventions available that can be used to address the risk factors for INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, and promote protective factors across the life course to help prevent INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE or to reduce subsequent victimization.

The primary prevention of intimate violence (and by primary prevention I mean reducing the number of new instances of violence) is likely to save lives and money.

The importance of primary prevention is often overshadowed by the importance of the large number of programmes that, understandably, seek to deal with the immediate and numerous consequences of violence.

However, investment to stop intimate partner violence before it occurs is crucial as this will protect and promote the well-being and development of individuals, families, communities and societies.

At present, evidence on the effec...