In an address to that country’s preeminent doctors, health professionals, and domestic violence experts on Friday, United States Vice President Joe Biden told the room that domestic violence was a public health epidemic that requires urgent attention.
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The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-third of all women in the United States will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The short-term and long-term consequences of this epidemic are disturbing. Apart from death and serious injuries, victims of domestic violence are more likely to suffer from asthma, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance abuse. At least one-third of all female homicide victims are killed by a male intimate partner.
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Biden has been something of a trailblazer in the United States on the issue. He was responsible for introducing the landmark Violence Against Women Act in 1990, despite being told he would be responsible for ‘breaking up families.’ The Act was signed into law in 1994.
In Australia, the statistics are no less sobering. In 2015, women killed by their partners has risen sharply to two per week. Over a third of Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. 64% of the women who had experienced physical violence said that they did not report it to police.
In Queensland, the Coroner’s Office tabled a report which revealed that between 2006 – 2012, almost half the state’s murders were related to domestic violence. The Personal Safety Survey completed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2006 found that a woman in Australia is more likely to be killed in her own home by her male partner than by anybody else anywhere else.
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One of the most common responses to hearing about domestic violence is: “Why doesn’t she leave?”
The truth is that it can be very difficult for the victim of domestic violence to leave:
- Lack of resources – she may not have a job and her violent partner controls the money
- Fear of escalating violence – he may have threatened to kill her if she tries to leave
- Fear of deadly consequences for the children – he may have threatened to hurt or kill their children if she tries to leave
- They don’t know where to go
- They have very few support networks – abusers often isolate their victims from family and friends
At Divorce Lawyers Brisbane, our family lawyers are experienced in assisting families dealing with violence. If you need somebody on your side, contact us today for a free 10-minute consultation.