Although it is unlikely that we will ever completely eliminate domestic violence, we can take steps to stop domestic violence from affecting as many people as it does in the United Kingdom.
Antiquated views and incorrect stereotypes can help to perpetuate domestic violence or can stop people from getting the support that they need to help them to escape violence. For example, the idea of “Till death us do part” is often held so highly that people are worried about ending their marriage even though they are suffering abuse.
Other notions that need to be challenged include the idea that a wife should “honour and obey” her husband. Men often use this as a justification to beat their wives if they believe that they have not been obeyed. Although steps are being made towards gender equality in the UK, we must also continue to fight perceptions that women are the weaker or lesser sex. Inequality of all forms helps to perpetuate domestic violence and domestic abuse.
Stopping Victim Blaming
If an abuser is able to put on a positive face to the rest of the world, then their friends and family members may believe that something that the victim did must have caused the abuse.
It is also important that we take steps to change attitudes towards those who suffer domestic abuse. Victim blaming in any shape or form will not end domestic violence.
Improving training for professionals
Teachers, GPs, healthcare staff, police officers and housing staff should all be given adequate training to help them to identify the signs of domestic abuse. Some signs can be very subtle, but picking up on these signs can help to save more than one life.
In addition to identifying the signs of abuse, these professionals should also learn about different ways to support people who are trapped in an abusive relationship. To do this, it is essential that professionals understand why people stay in abusive relationships and what can help them to escape the cycle of abuse.
We must continue to raise public awareness of the issue of domestic violence. Domestic violence can continue to flourish whilst the public lack awareness of the problem. As well as continue to raise awareness of male on female domestic violence cases, resources should also be put into raising the profile of less common types of domestic violence, such as female on male violence, violence in homosexual relationships and domestic violence against trans individuals.
Programmes for children
Hundreds of thousands of children are affected by domestic violence every year. Although some parents may be worried about their children learning about violence, these programmes can be delivered information in an age appropriate way.
Learning that domestic violence is not normal can help to give children the courage that they need to talk about bad things that are happening to them at their home. It can also help children to understand things which may be happening to their friends. In addition to this, these programmes can help to change children’s attitudes towards some of the myths and stereotypes which are mentioned above.
Improving the Criminal Justice System
At present, too many abusers are getting away with the continued domestic violence, and too few abused people are getting access to the support that they need to bring their attacker to justice. Laws should be updated and upheld to ensure that perpetrators of domestic violence are punished for their actions.
The Criminal Justice System should also take steps to ensure that sufferers of abuse continue to stay safe even after their attacker is released from custody.