Domestic Violence In The United Kingdom Criminology Essay

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The UK government has adopted the following non-statutory definition of domestic violence;. 'any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality'

It is interesting to note the following key statistics on domestic violence:

Domestic violence is the largest cause of death for women aged 19 to 44 across the world. Domestic violence causes more deaths in women than war, cancer or car accidents.

According to the British Crime Survey, one in four women and one in six men in the UK will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. The vast majority of serious and recurring violence is perpetuated by men towards women.

Domestic violence accounts for 16% of all violent incidents reported to or recorded by the police. Around two women a week are killed by their partner of former partner.

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Home Office figures suggest there are around 12 honour killings each year, but the total is likely to be far higher.

The governments Forced Marriage Unit deals with 5000 enquiries and 300 cases of forced marriages each year. 30% of these concern under 18s, and 15% are men.

There are laws to protect victims of domestic violence. The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection Act) 2007 was passed which enables the victims to apply for court orders for their protection.

'Historically, forced marriages were used to require a captive (slave or prisoner of war) to integrate with the host community, and accept his or her fate. One example is the English Blacksmith, John R.Jewitt, who spent 3 years as a captive of the Nootka people on the Pacific Northwest Coast in 1805. He was ordered to marry because the council of chiefs thought that a wife and family would reconcile him to staying with his captors for life. Jewitt was given a choice between forced marriage for himself and capital punishment for both him and his "father" (a fellow captive). "Reduced to this sad extremity, with death on one side, and matrimony on the other, I thought proper to choose what happened to me the least of the two evils." [2] 

Firstly, we will define domestic violence. Domestic violence has been defined in many ways. Some of the definitions are as follows:

"violence or physical abuse directed toward your spouse or domestic partner; usually violence by men against women" [3] .

"Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined a pattern of abusive behaviours by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. ... [4] "

"Violence committed by one member of a family or household against another." [5] 

"occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate or harm the other. ... [6] "

"a pattern of physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive behaviours used by one individual to assert power or maintain control over another, in the context of an intimate or family relationship [7] ".

"The commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship; but does not include acts of self-defence. ... [8] "

"Incidents of inter-spousal physical or emotional abuse perpetrated by one of the spouses or parent figures upon the other spouse or parent figure in the child victim's home environment [9] ".

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"Any hurtful or unwanted behaviour perpetrated upon an individual by an intimate or prior intimate. Includes; physical, psychological and emotional abuse [10] ".

"A crime of domestic violence, including stalking, or violation of a protection order, and crimes against children. Conviction is grounds for removal of an alien from the United States. INA Section 237(a)(2)(E), 8 USC Section 1227(a)(2)(E) [11] ".

"refers to any form of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic abuse inflicted on any person in a household by a family or household member [12] ".

"This is NOT the exactly the focus of The Awareness Center. Domestic Violence usually refers to spousal abuse. In some cases there is marital rape and incest (which is a part of the focus of The Awareness Center) [13] ".

"means a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that an adult uses against another adult when a child is present [14] ".

"A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners where the perpetrator and victim are currently or have been previously dating, cohabiting, married ... [15] "

"The desire to dominate and control the partner or other household member by use of psychological, physical, sexual, and/or social/environmental pressure [16] ".

"Threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional) by a former partner or associated person [17] ".

Domestic Violence accounts for 14% of all violent incidents. It has more repeat victims than any other crime: repeat victimisation accounts for 66% of all incidents of domestic violence and 21% of victims have been victimised three or more times [18] .

Key findings from the Home Office Statistical Bulletin, Crime in England & Wales 2008/09 [19] outlined the following:

Domestic Violence accounts for 1 in 7 (14%) of all violent incidents.

Around 1 in 3 (31%) of all violent incidents against women were incidents of domestic violence, compared to 5% of incidents against men.

77% of all victims of domestic violence were women

Among men the prevalence of non-sexual partner abuse has decreased (from 4% to 3%). [20] 

Honour based violence is a type of violence that is more likely to occur within a forced marriage.

"No specific definition is given with regards to honour based violence but the report describes this form of violence in the following way:

'So-called "honour"-based violence occurs in communities where the concepts of honour and shame are fundamentally bound up with the expected behaviour of families or individuals, especially women. "Honour" killings represent the extreme end, but there is a spectrum of other forms of violence associated with "honour".'

The report describes so-called 'honour'-based violence as different to domestic violence in that it is often perpetrated by more than one individual, from the victim's own family or wider community. It is most usually directed towards young women, although this is not always the case: men have also been victims.

The report stresses that so-called 'honour'-based violence is not associated with particular religions or religious practice: it has been recorded across Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim communities [21] ."

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Honour Based Violence has been defined by Cambridge Constabulary as:

"A crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and / or the community.

Honour-based violence can affect both men and women, and cuts across a number of cultures and communities. It is closely associated with domestic abuse and child protection matters.

Issues such as dress, choice of friends, relationships with members of the opposite sex and career choice among others could all impact on a family's honour and therefore lead to honour-based violence

There are many examples of how honour-based violence can impact on someone's life including being isolated from local communities, not being allowed independence, forced into marriage or under duress from their family. In every case police have a responsibility to ensure safety, whether that is by offering advice and prosecuting offenders [22] "

The above has been associated with forced marriages.

"Forced Marriages & 'Honour'-Based Violence

"marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses"

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16 (21)

What is Forced Marriage?

Forced marriage is any marriage that is performed under duress and without the full and informed consent or free will of both parties. To be 'under duress' means to feel physical and/or emotional pressure. Some victims of forced marriage are tricked into going to another country by their families. Victims fall prey to forced marriage through deception, abduction, coercion, fear and/or inducements. A forced marriage may be between children, between a child and an adult or between adults.

The Forced Marriage Unit in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office deals with approximately 400 forced marriage cases each year. Approximately 85% of these are female (Forced Marriage Unit, 2008).

'Honour'-Based Violence

'Honour'- based violence, i.e., crimes committed in the name of honour, have been defined in various ways, but an 'honour' crime tends to be differentiated from other forms of domestic violence or killing on the grounds that it involves a premeditated act to restore family honour, and that the perpetrators may be fathers, cousins or uncles rather than partners or husbands.

Home Office figures suggest there are around 12 "honour" killings each year, but the total is likely to be far higher. So-called "honour"-based violence occurs in communities where the concepts of honour and shame are fundamentally bound up with the expected behaviour of families or individuals, especially women. "Honour" killings represent the extreme end, but there is a spectrum of other forms of violence associated with "honour" (Source: Home Affairs Select Committee, 2008). [23] "