Domestic abuse is #EveryonesProblem

To celebrate International Women’s Day, UK-wide domestic abuse charity SafeLives is highlighting the inspirational women who have inspired us through generations and still inspire us daily. Alongside HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall, we are supporting calls to make domestic abuse

#EveryonesProblem – with a critical role for younger people – boys as well as girls – in ending abuse for good.

From family members, friends and colleagues, to public figures, we are surrounded every day by examples of the collective strength, passion and determination of women who help other women and their families live their lives free from fear and abuse. Often these women are handing on the baton – giving an incredible, inspiring example for their younger counterparts to follow and breaking through barriers so younger women won’t have to.

One of those women who is supporting calls for change is Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, who has been a long-standing ally in our ambition to end domestic abuse, for everyone, for good. Today, Her Royal Highness is opening the Women of the World festival with a reminder that domestic abuse is everyone’s problem and we all have a role to play.

The Duchess of Cornwall is supporting a hashtag today to raise awareness of domestic abuse: #EveryonesProblem. Let’s all get behind that. Let’s be the inspiration for the next generation. Together we can end domestic abuse. For everyone and for good.

Yesterday I was in a security queue for forty minutes, in the rain. The girl in-front of me asked what I was there for, and when I said ‘a domestic abuse event’ she quickly responded ‘Oh that’s so cool’. She was embarrassed to use the word cool about a horrible thing, but actually her immediate engagement with the issue was telling – young women want to talk about these issues, get involved in activism, and change the world around them.

We also need to open up the conversation to men and to boys. In 2019, we heard from more than 1,000 men and boys aged 11 and over, who answered questions about abuse, masculinity and what a ‘healthy’ relationship looks like. 84% of men and boys agreed that ‘society’s views of masculinity can have a negative effect on the mental health of men and boys’. 64% also agreed that ‘society tells us men should be tough and that ‘real men’ don’t cry.

Many said no one had ever talked to them about how to behave in a relationship before, but they’d gone into their first relationships with a vaguely defined but strong sense of what they were entitled to, not what they could offer another person. They also expressed strong anxiety about being cheated on, something which for many of them had tipped over into controlling behaviours at a young age.

Suzanne Jacob, OBE, SafeLives Chief Executive

Tackling domestic abuse becomes a criminal justice problem when we don’t intervene effectively, sooner. Abuse takes many forms – from physical abuse, to coercive control, to psychological abuse to financial abuse. Four out of five victims do not call the police, but many may disclose to friends, family members, employers, banks, health services – if they are asked the right questions by someone who understands their situation. This crucial first attempt to reach out can be decisive – and all of us can make it decisive in a positive way if we understand the issue better, and talk about it with the openness the Duchess has shown.

Suzanne continues:

We need to stop seeing domestic abuse as something that happens to ‘other people’. One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. They are your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbours. It’s time we all take action.

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Domestic abuse is prevalent across all areas of the UK, and all sections of our society. Find out more about what domestic abuse is, who is affected, how we can challenge those who harm and support friends and family affected.
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About training with SafeLives

Our training supports professionals to recognise the signs of domestic abuse, understand the issues, and respond quickly and effectively when a victim needs help.