‘No Typical Victim of Domestic Violence’ Warns Legal Specialist – Lawyer Monthly | Legal News Magazine

‘No Typical Victim of Domestic Violence’ Warns Legal Specialist

Misconceptions regarding the ‘typical’ victims of domestic violence are leaving thousands of people in a dangerous situation vulnerable to abuse, legal specialist Percy Hughes & Roberts has warned.

In a survey of over 600 people, Percy Hughes & Roberts asked respondents who they believe to be the most commonly affected by domestic violence, with 79% pointing to women in a heterosexual relationship. Only 7% of respondents said men in a heterosexual relationship, and even fewer participants thought individuals in the LGBT community were at risk. And, while a large majority of domestic violence victims are female, the legal specialist has warned that by failing to offer support for other members of society, their safety is at risk.

Shirley Bennett, a legal executive at Percy Hughes & Roberts, who specialises in domestic violence cases, says: “While abuse cases involving female victims of men are the most widely reported, there are significant portions of society that feel as though they have nowhere to turn if they fall victim to domestic violence.

“Domestic violence has no ‘typical’ victim, and I regularly provide support for men in heterosexual relationships and members of the LGBT community who fear for their safety because of an abusive partner. My concern is that misconceptions about who is most affected by domestic violence could leave thousands of people unable to seek help because they feel as though they have been forgotten about in terms of support.”

Instances of abuse in same-sex relationships are common. Figures published by charity Stonewall reveal that one-in-four lesbian and bi-sexual women have experienced domestic abuse in a relationship, while 49% of all homosexual and bi-sexual men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16.

Cases of abuse against men in heterosexual relationships often go unreported. Figures published by the Mankind Initiative suggest that one-in-six men will suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime. However, male victims (29%) are over twice as likely as women (12%) to not tell anyone about their situation.

Shirley says: “By assuming that women in heterosexual relationships are the only victims of domestic violence, we leave a significant number of people at risk. Domestic violence in the LGBT community, plus instances of abuse against men in heterosexual relationships, need to be taken seriously. Awareness should be raised to support victims from every part of society.

“It is important that we tell these people that they don’t have to suffer in silence and that there is no stigma attached to seeking help for domestic violence, no matter who you are. There are charities and other bodies out there designed to help individuals affected, so if you need that help, please know that you are not alone.”

(Source: Percy Hughes & Roberts)

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