As Gypsies and Travellers live on the whole in a closed community, there is a tendency to try to resolve disputes within the extended family. For many issues this is an effective way of dealing with problems ” not so for domestic abuse.

Cultural expectations can also make it difficult for domestic abuse to be challenged, for example, belief that many men are violent and a woman has to accept such behaviour. Taboos also exist against interfering between spouses where abuse occurs and there are expectations that marriage is for life – women who leave marriage may be ostracised from their community.

The difficulties of Gypsies and Travellers living with domestic abuse can be made worse by attitudes and reactions of people outside their communities, Gypsy and Travellers may feel unable to contact the police or other agencies for support.

However there are a few specialist national organisations that can offer support alongside all the other general services that can support people affected by domestic abuse within Southend, Essex and Thurrock.

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