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Free guide from Refuge for women experiencing domestic violence

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Free guide from Refuge for women experiencing domestic violence

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Former_MSE_WendyFormer_MSE_Wendy
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What this is all about?

Refuge, the domestic violence charity, has produced a free new guide called 'You Can Afford To Leave' to help women experiencing domestic violence or abuse take control of their finances.

It's designed to cover all the basics, from benefits and basic budgeting to setting up a bank account and what to do about joint debts (mortgages etc). It’s aim is to help women who feel trapped with an abuser, but also to help those who have left and need help getting their finances sorted.

How to get the guide

The 35 page guide is available to download from the Refuge website (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to open it) or it can also send hard copies to women or to people who might come across women seeking help if you call 020 7395 7731 or send an [EMAIL="janqui_mehta@refuge.org.uk"]email[/EMAIL].

Why has Refuge produced the guide?

It's research has shown that domestic violence often involves economic abuse as well as physical, sexual and emotional abuse and that many women stay with abusive men because they are worried about the financial consequences of leaving and are unaware of the options that are available to them. Economic abuse can include taking the woman’s money, not allowing her to work, strictly limiting what she’s allowed to spend or, really commonly, placing debt in her name to trap her in the relationship.

Refuge says that one in four women experience abuse at some point in their lives. If this affects you or anyone you know, check out or pass on the guide.

Also read our 5 minute Benefits Check Up & Debt Help Guide.

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Replies

  • dom_kaosdom_kaos Forumite
    2 posts
    Thank you for posting this information, Wendy, but please let's not fall into the trap of assuming that all victims of domestic abuse are female, and all perpetrators male. While the British Crime Survey statistics you quote do indeed assert that one in four women will be a victim at some point in her life, the same research also suggests that one in six men will be a victim. The real figure may be even higher: while it's never easy for a woman to admit that she is a victim, social pressures often make it much, much more difficult for a man to admit to the same. One only has to look at the way the tabloids handled the alleged assaults on EastEnders' on-screen "hard-men" a couple of years ago to see how men can be vilified for "allowing" themselves to be at the receiving end of such abuse.
    I shan't quote a whole load of statistics here but for those interested, ManKind offers a really useful resource on this doubly hidden problem: their website can be found here and their page of statistics is here. As it says, there are fewer than 10 safe refuge places for men in the whole of the United Kingdom: in addition, men may feel unable to leave abusive relationships for financial reasons, because they fear they will not be permitted to maintain contact with their children, or because they fear for the safety of any children they leave behind.
    It's a horrible, terrifyingly disempowering situation for anybody to find themselves in and I'm sure moneysavingexpert will welcome this opportunity to redress the balance by offering support and information to anyone in such a situation - regardless of their gender.
  • IannaIanna Forumite
    581 posts
    I shan't quote a whole load of statistics here but for those interested, ManKind offers a really useful resource on this doubly hidden problem

    I'm in no way doubting that men are daily victims of domestic abuse but I'm concerned by the statistics and general information presented on Mankind's website. I don't think the figures it uses or the 1 in 6 figure is accurate and representative.

    The site says "in the last year, nearly as many men as women were victims of severe force in a relationship." but doesn't make clear that overall half as many men as women are physically abused and doesn't mention that men are more likely to be abused for shorter periods of time and that the abuse is most likely to start when the relationship ended. It also quotes heavily from a studybased on the BCJS (so it's not using very different sources) Regarding the statistic given on Mankind's page on male murders, it doesn't state how many were the abusive spouse being murdered by their victim. It's got a real agenda.

    The Home office state here:
    One in four women and one in six men will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime with women at greater risk of repeat victimisation and serious injury.
    89% of those suffering four or more incidents are women.

    The study that mankind quotes heavily throughout the website says clearly that women are more likely to suffer multiple victimisation and are more likely to be sexually assaulted and raped. It states Sixty-five per cent of male victims experienced only one type of intimate violence since the age of 16, with partner abuse (nonsexual)
    only (27%) or stalking only (26%) being the most likely experience
    . Yet it doesn't present that information at all, it leads you to a different conclusion.

    The statistics of 1 in 4 and 1 in 6 also state "in their lifetime" and doesn't specify how many have suffered it as a child growing up in an abusive household and how many have suffered it as an adult with an abusive partner. When you look into the specific breakdowns found here you see that men are equally or nearly equally as likely to suffer certain types of abuse from family as women are. However the figures for partner abuse show men are significantly less likely to suffer abuse at the hands of their partner. Remember this is all using the same sources that Mankind used, just presenting bits that Mankind haven't showed people. It also doesn't acknowledge that men are less likely to be caring for kids than women are which is a crucial point especially in relation to the advice Wendy has linked to.

    It's crucial to remember that domestic abuse isn't just about violent partners it's about violent homes and families. Sadly parents abuse their children every day. It's very dangerous to play numbers games with male v female domestic abuse because as I've shown it's not just about how many people report being abused like this, there's far more issues going on than that. The issue as a whole is woefully underfunded (people may have read this article showing that the UK gives more to one donkey charity than it does to all the leading DA charities combined) and there need to be more provisions overall. There is an absolute need for more funding for male support services and housing as well as an understanding that abuse is abuse and it's wrong whether the victim is male or female. I don't object to that at all but I do object to the way that website has represented information.

    So according to mankind's own sources men are abused LESS and for SHORTER PERIODS OF TIME and are LESS likely to be the victim of sexual violence, seriously injured, abused by a partner and LESS likely to suffer multiple victimisation. But the site doesn't give you all this information at all, it's biased and slants it.
  • RabbitxRabbitx Forumite
    310 posts
    Wow, I hope this helps a lot of people. I've been in this position twice before, Never again, I hope. :A
  • Thankyou Dom Koas and Ianna for your comments - they're important, but I think they are diverging from the issues that this free guide is trying to address, ie: how to manage/be able to afford to leave a controlled relationship from the financial point of view. It is scary enough for many people just to think about splitting up, especially when children are involved.
    Most of us are prepared to work hard as necessary, and compromise when necessary, in order to make a relationship work and give ourselves some stability and to realize our dreams of good home life. However in some relationships, an imbalance starts to build up into a cycle of one partner manipulating the other into compromizing more & more. The 'noose', the 'control' builds up and tightens over a period of time. This is the psychological side of the abusive relationship. It is important because it eats away at the self esteem of the victims, and often results in isolating them friends, family and work colleagues, ie: wipes away all outside support. The victim may feel shame, embarrassed, etc, and almost definately has finances being manipulated to perpetuate the cycle. Victims of emotional and violent abuse, (men & women), need support financially, as a step if nothing else to help them make that break.
  • IannaIanna Forumite
    581 posts
    Rabbitx wrote: »
    how to manage/be able to afford to leave a controlled relationship from the financial point of view. It is scary enough for many people just to think about splitting up, especially when children are involved.

    Yes absolutely. Thanks for highlighting the psychological aspect of domestic abuse as well, people often dismiss it. It is like a noose.
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • I've just had a look at this guide. I suggest a useful way to create an 'escape fund' is to open a savings account with your local credt union. If you find you need to move before you saved enough to do so, they will be able to help you with a loan. The interests rates for saving and borrowing are fair, and you will have a very sympathetic ear if you need help from them. When you join, ask how you would apply for a loan if you needed it. They may require a letter from an organisation like Citizen's Advice or Refuge, in which case, you might want to have one prepared in advance, and a case worker who you can phone up if need be.
    You can find your local credit union here:
    http://www.abcul.org/page/index.cfm
  • Join your local freecycle group. This is a brilliant way to furnish your new home without the worry of huge expense. It involves a bit of luck and patience, but you may find anything from a bed or washing machine to toys, saucepans, curtain, bedding, etc.
  • as someone who escaped a abusive violent and degrading relationship just over 4 years ago now, I hope and pray that this guide helps anyone who is caught up ina similar situation, whether they are male or female, young or old, rich or poor. No one deserves to live their lives in fear
  • RabbitxRabbitx Forumite
    310 posts
    dom_kaos wrote: »
    in addition, men may feel unable to leave abusive relationships for financial reasons, because they fear they will not be permitted to maintain contact with their children, or because they fear for the safety of any children they leave behind.
    It's a horrible, terrifyingly disempowering situation for anybody to find themselves in and I'm sure moneysavingexpert will welcome this opportunity to redress the balance by offering support and information to anyone in such a situation - regardless of their gender.

    I hope so.
  • Just with regards to the statistics on whether males are involved in just as much domestic violence than women. There will never be an accurate figure on these, yes it happens for both parties but what needs to be understood is that so many men and women do not report it. I have a daily experiences with people, mainly women regarding domestic violence but it happens with men too and a lot is gone un noticed because they either feel ashamed to disclose it or its not taken seriously enough. I.e Some may think how could a 6ft male be in a domestic violent relationship and is in fear of their partner, male or female of 5ft 4 with a small frame. Believe me it happens and not to forget that this is mental abuse not just physical but also financial abuse. I doubt we will ever get a true figure of domestic violence unfortunately, we can only help those that we see changes or patterns or those who come forward.
    A useful link and I will be forwarding to my work colleague so that when they go to similar domestic incidents they too will be able to offer that little bit more, so thank you.
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