Intimate partner violence accounts for one out of every four violent crimes reported to police. Two thirds of these victims are women and girls, but family violence is under-reported. In fact, less than one in five victims of intimate partner violence reports it to police.
Domestic abuse is about power and control. When the balance of power is one-sided it causes the vulnerable partner to become isolated financially, emotionally and physically from their support system. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the order to stay home, victims of family violence were placed at further risk when forced into lockdown with their abusers. The trauma creates long-term repercussions for survivors and their children.
When young children are exposed to the traumatic events of domestic violence, it affects brain development and negatively impacts the ability to learn. Children who regularly witness abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves or believe that threats and violence are a normal part of relationships. This can affect the rest of their lives, creating a cycle of violence and poverty.
The effects of domestic violence are far-reaching, often impacting every aspect of a person’s life. A person’s economic, employment, family and support system, social connectedness, mental health and wellbeing are all significantly affected by violent experiences.
United Way invests in programs for women and families to access emergency safe shelters and safety planning programs, court support, advocacy and counselling. We believe focusing on prevention and education is also critical to reducing domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. Each year, United Way helps thousands of women and their families break the cycle of violence.