Headlines: June 14th, 2005

A unique ‘snapshot’ study in Bristol has shown that on a single day earlier this year, 171 people were supported by organisations in the city after being subjected to physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. The survey, the first of its kind carried out in the city, was commissioned by the Safer Bristol Partnership on behalf of the Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum.The study took place over a 24-hour period – on March 10th – across the city. It was conducted by Professor Marianne Hester and Nicole Westmarland at the University of Bristol and funded by the Government Office for the South West. In all, 33 organisations supplied information for the survey including the police,Victim Support, the city’s Primary Care Trusts, Bristol City Council and a range of voluntary organisations. It will be repeated next year.

The aim of the survey was to increase the reporting of domestic abuse by encouraging victims to come forward, to work with those responsible for the abuse and to encourage closer working between the various agencies tackling domestic abuse and working with victims.

Of the 171 victims on the ‘snapshot’ day, 89 per cent were women. In most cases – 81 per cent – the victim was female and the perpetrator was male. Most incidents, too, took place within an ‘intimate’, rather than a ‘familial’ relationship. In half of cases, the victim and perpetrator were partners. In just over a third of incidents they were married. The most frequent abuse was emotional, closely followed by physical abuse. One in six victims had been sexually abused.

Councillor Gary Hopkins, Chair of the Safer Bristol Partnership, said the positive message from the survey was that the range of organisations, working in close partnership to tackle domestic abuse, were having an impact and more people were coming forward to report domestic abuse.