During the time that I have been working at the Police Investigation Centre at Basingstoke, it has been evident that a high percentage of people who have been arrested are in custody for domestic related incidents – mainly assault.
Before I changed role I knew that a large proportion of the people the police dealt with were for domestic incidents, however, in my current role, the percentage is higher than I thought.
Domestic violence is one of the highest risk areas of work for the police and the number of people who are killed as a result of it in he UK underlines this risk.
I have written before about this subject, however, this article relates to patterns which are easier to recognise when you are dealing with domestic incidents on a regular basis.
Without being too stereotypical, there is some truth that certain people will move on from one abusive relationship to another – perhaps because of their vulnerabilities which are recognised by abusers. Another factor is dependency, where the victim will feel some attachment to the person who abuses them.
Other similar trends which appear are self-blame. This may be due to the character of the victim, or more likely how the abuser will make the victim feel that they have failed and it is their fault. Closely aligned to this is the victim believing that the reason for the abuse is an alcohol dependency or mental health issue.
These factors are hard to break down and in many cases you are dealing with victims who may have grown up in a household where there was domestic violence and this can set `norms` in people`s mind.
The above factors are quite inherent in domestic cases, however, an addition is social media and how people seek partners.
To me, the use of social media presents one of the greatest potential risks. In it`s concept it is a great thing, where people who have struggled to find a partner or friendship, are now able to communicate with so many people, rather than rely on their social or work circles as they did beforehand.
The problem is that it is something widely used by abusive people who are looking to exploit the vulnerable.
Social media can put people together who have no knowledge of one another and someone who appeared quite trusting and nice, can soon turn once they have won the trust of someone and become part of their lives.
For me, the increased use of social media for people to form relationships is exactly the reason why Clare`s Law is such a good thing.
Clare Wood was strangled and her body set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton in Greater Manchester in 2009.