What is Domestic Violence?
In the UK, the government definition of domestic abuse is “any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality” (Strickland and Allen, 2018). On the 29th of April 2021, domestic abuse became criminalised in the UK (GOV, 2021).
Why focus on the Black Community?
The Black community in the UK are more likely to suffer domestic abuse and takes longer time before seeking help compared to their British or Irish counterpart (Anita and Gill, 2020). Ajao, Kendall and Lovell (2018), highlighted the rising concern due to underreporting among women from ethnic minority populations on the issues of domestic violence.
Why focus on Women and Girls?
The statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime (Home Office Media, 2019). Despite the police recording a 60% increase in recorded incidents of domestic abuse in less than 3 years, a recent survey of abuse survivors showed that there continued to be low levels of women reporting domestic abuse to the police. Katie Ghose, the Chief Executive of Women’s Aid reported that from the organisation’s work with survivors, they found out that it takes a lot of strength and courage for women to build up the confidence to report domestic abuse to the police (Grierson, 2018)
Why focus on the Church?
Faith leaders are a critical resource for abused women because they are individuals recognised in their community to play authoritative and influential roles formally or informally (Roux & Bartelink 2017). Their willingness and readiness to address domestic violence is vital to the safety of victims of violence in the community. Anshel MH et al (2014) also reported that faith leaders are an integral part of the BME communities with a unique position to promote positive behaviour change in marital relationships