Domestic Violence in Courts
According to statistics, each year domestic abuse affects nearly 2 million people in the UK. But it is likely that the problem is actually much bigger, as many cases go unreported. And even when survivors are brave enough to report their abuse, they sometimes do not receive the well-informed support of the justice system that they should.
In March 2017, Manchester Crown Court’s Judge Richard Mansell told one domestic abuse survivor that he would not jail Mustafa Bashir, the man who made her drink bleach and struck her over the head with a baseball bat, because she was not vulnerable enough. This ill-informed claim came from the fact that the judge thought the survivor to be "an intelligent woman with a network of friends" and a university degree.
There is an undoubtable ignorance surrounding the world of domestic abuse where we categorise the type of survivors we expect to see, and the way we expect these crimes to be committed. This stems from a lack of knowledge and accurate representation within the media, allowing for these ignorant attitudes to prevail in the very places where they definitely should not, and women like the survivor within this particular court case suffer the consequences.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone- it does not discriminate based on IQ. Nor does it take into account the amount of friends you have, how close you are to your family, or how susceptible it perceives you to be to it. To dismiss what a survivor has suffered through at the hands of an abuser simply on the grounds that a judge does not perceive you to be ‘vulnerable enough’ is to lack any knowledgeable understanding of what domestic abuse is.
Because we are told that the second a partner hits you, we must leave. But we are not told that the second a partner degrades you, manipulates you, or controls you, to do the same. Because domestic abuse does not occur over night, because domestic abuse grows, and it builds, slowly but surely as the abuser gains more control over your life.
Mums In Need are here to start a well-informed conversation about the realities of domestic abuse to combat this ignorance. We want more people to understand the realities of this abuse, both physical and emotional, and the effects that this can have. And we want your help.
Almost two years later, a petition is still going on, stemming from the aforementioned court case, for professionals to have adequate knowledge and training about domestic abuse and for it to be taken more seriously in courts. You can find the link to this petition below, to help Mums In Need support this cause so that future judges cannot make the same ill-informed judgement again, and so that every survivor gets the justice that they deserve.
Domestic abuse is a hard subject to talk about, and one that not many people want to. But we must combat this silence, and this ignorance, in order to allow survivors the dedicated support that they need, and so rightfully deserve.