Being hit by a partner is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ – when are we going to stop blaming women?

There is an epidemic of domestic abuse in this country. More than a quarter of women aged 16 to 59 have experienced it at some point in their lives, according to the Government’s own figures. Many victims are trapped in violent relationships, unable to leave because refuge places are in short supply, and they have nowhere else to go.

In such circumstances, who could possibly believe that staying with a brutal partner is a ‘choice’, rather than a counsel of desperation? Yet a major new report shows that too many of the people who provide front-line services – police officers, social workers, health professionals, youth offending teams and probation officers – apparently believe that putting up with domestic abuse is a ‘lifestyle choice’.

The conclusions of the report – written by inspectors from four Government bodies, including Ofsted – make for distressing reading.

The inspectors looked at…


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