The statistics on domestic abuse are never not shocking. It’s currently believed that one in four women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime, while the police receive a domestic abused related call every 30 seconds. Let that sink in. And with the national lockdown this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, more women have found themselves trapped in dangerous situations with abusive partners.
In fact, Refuge – the UK’s largest provider of specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic abuse and gender-based violence – have reported an increase in calls and requests on their helpline as well as greater demand for emergency accommodation.
Teaming up with Refuge, Crime+Investigation has launched the #HereForHer campaign, fronted by small screen star Kym Marsh. It aims to raise awareness of domestic abuse issues as well as the options for support out there for survivors.
“Many people still believe that domestic abuse is a private matter and many victims of domestic abuse feel isolated from friends or family due to their abusive partners, and feel like they have no one to talk to," says Kim. "That is why I’m championing the #HereForHer initiative to let those victims know there is a community of support available to them, even if they feel like they have nowhere to turn.’’
The Crime+Investigation’s #HereForHer campaign helps the public to stand in solidarity with those going through a domestically abusive ordeal and relies on donations to achieve all its incredible work. Just £10 can provide an Emergency Parcel, containing essentials such as toiletries, food and clothing so that a woman escaping a life-threatening situation has what she needs for her first night in a refuge. Click here to donate or text ‘TEN’ to 70490 to donate £10*.
Another way that Crime+Investigation and Refuge help to overcome domestic abuse is to provide education on what counts as domestic abuse. For many of us, when we hear the term, we immediately think of violent physical attacks, bruises and cuts. But domestic abuse extends far beyond just the violent and is no less aggressive or harmful.
Psychological abuse is one of the ways that a perpetrator can cause damage to their partner. They tell them that they are worthless or not good enough and say everything they can to cripple their self-esteem. Abusers might also threaten that if the survivor leaves them, they won’t be supported in any way or that harm will come to them and the ones they love. One of the most worrying things about psychological abuse is that it can result in the victim blaming themselves for their abuser’s behaviour, or worse, believing that they deserve it.
Economic abuse is a controlling technique used by abusers to trap their partners. Perpetrators might manage or restrict a victim’s access to money, limit how much they have, threaten to take away money for basics like sanitary products or nappies, or they may demand to read her receipts and scrutinise every penny spent. Something else an abuser might do is take out credit in their partner’s name and draw up huge debts – not only does this undermine their financial security, but it also means that even if a woman is able to escape an abusive relationship, she is still left with debts that shouldn’t be hers to pay.
In our increasingly digital age, technological abuse is a form of domestic abuse that we all need to be conscious of. Abusers can install software on their partner’s phone which mirrors their communications to the abuser’s phone, or download tracking apps so that they can trace their victim’s every step. Perpetrators might also set up cameras around the house, either in plain sight or hidden, so that they can record and watch their partner throughout the day.
Of all those supported by Refuge over the last 12 months, 3,615 women were additionally supported in overcoming technological abuse – a near 15% increase on women supported the previous year.
‘’Domestic abuse is a crime and initiatives like Crime+Investigation’s #HereForHer are absolutely vital to raising much-needed awareness of an issue that has huge knock-on effects across society and raise much-needed funds to support the hugely important work Refuge do through their national Helpline and emergency services," says Kim.
You can also catch Kym on Crime+Investigation with her new show Murder at My Door with Kym Marsh. It’s a gripping four-part true crime series that tells the stories of innocent people who were attacked, abused and killed by people they thought they could trust.
Each case is given a 360-degree perspective thanks to dramatic re-enactments, photographs and testimonies from family, friends and the crime teams who worked on them, while experts in criminology and psychology also provide insight into the minds, motives and movements of the killers.
You can support Crime+Investigation and Refuge’s #HereForHer campaign and find out more here
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse they are not alone – contact Refuge’s 24 hour Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to access information and a live chat service Monday-Friday 3-6pm.
*TEXT TEN TO 70490 TO DONATE £10.
Texts cost £10 plus a standard network message rate. Please ask bill payer’s permission first. By texting “TEN” to 70490 you consent to future phone calls and SMS messages about Refuge’s work and how you can support us. To donate but opt out of future calls and SMS, text “TENNOINFO” to 70490. For full terms and conditions visit the Refuge website. Refuge is a registered charity in England and Wales number 277424.