“Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burdens” Qur’an 4:85
£16 billion. This sounds like a figure that Chancellor Osborne might be attempting to shave off public spending in our current period of necessary austerity.
However, the austerity to which this particular figure relates is unnecessary – it is domestic abuse.
£16 billion is an estimate of the annual cost of domestic abuse to the state, employers and the victims themselves. It is made up of the following:
The total cost of domestic abuse to services such as the criminal justice system, the NHS, social services, housing and civil legal services - £3.8 billion per annum;
Loss to the economy (England and Wales) - £1.9 billion per annum;
The human and emotional cost, which is not counted in the cost of services - just under £10 billion per annum.
These are shocking statistics. Domestic abuse accounts for 14% of all violent crime (Office for National Statistics, 2013). Victims are from all faiths, creeds and social backgrounds. Although women are statistically the most common victims of abuse (1 in 4), children (750,000 a year) as well as men (1 in 6) are also affected. In the UK, the police receive an emergency call for domestic abuse related incidents every single minute, and nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year in the UK, with 76% being repeat incidents.
There are two categories of perpetrators of domestic violence: the ones who inflict the physical and mental abuse - in most cases, the father and husband - and those who do not actively take part, but are witness to it. If you are aware of torment being inflected, but do nothing to alleviate it, you become one of the tormentors.
Those who are aware that violence is taking place within their immediate family or community can often feel pressured into keeping quiet about it, thus perpetuating the problem and preventing it from being stopped. It is our individual responsibility to prevent anyone from committing acts of abuse and violence of any kind.
There are various organisations who are seeking to provide help, support and advice to victims of domestic violence, including the charity Nour, which specifically targets the Muslim community.
“The words from the Quran are heavy and pure like gold, yet these words are often mistreated as light as a feather which are either neglected or dampened on. The teachings of many Islamic scholars around the world are elaborate and show that Islam never condones domestic violence, and that marital violence is never justified.” Nour, May 2013.
A watered down version of this article was published in The Invitation magazine