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'Domestic violence in the UK in general accounts for almost a quarter (23%) of all violent crimes although just under 1/3 of incidents are actually reported. There is no reason to assume prevalence amongst refugee and asylum communities is any lower than in the population as a whole, and indeed there may be factors present which increase the probability of abuse occurring. However, particular pressures and problems may tip the balance of a relationship and this may mean that abuse is more likely to occur'. (Adapted Asylum Aid the Refugee Women's Resource Project Look at Issue 16 Nov/Dec 2001) Women asylum seekers and refugees have the same rights to protection from domestic violence as any other person under UK jurisdiction. Equally, the perpetrators of abuse are subject to the same sanctions as any other person in the UK. Domestic violence is a crime, which the police treat as a very serious matter. At the time of any incident of serious threat or physical attack, dial 999. The police should be sympathetic and offer practical help and advice. Most forces have specially trained, experienced officers attached to the Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) of your local police station. Remember your patient may need a translator.

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