LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Every week in England, two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner, a “shocking statistic” the nation’s bishops are highlighting during the annual Day of Life, observed on June 16.

Domestic violence affects one in four women and one in six men in their lifetime. Bishop John Sherrington said “for those who are experiencing domestic abuse, the home is far from being a place of security and self-fulfilment.”

Sherrington, an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Westminster, is the lead bishop for the Day of Life for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

He said that, too often, the home is “a place of suffering, fear, degradation, and isolation.”

The UK government says there has been “little change” in the prevalence of domestic abuse over the past few years, although the number of cases recorded by the police has increased.

According to the latest published national crime survey, in the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the previous year, although the police only recorded just under 600,000 domestic abuse-related crimes.

The police made just over 225,000 arrests for domestic abuse-related offences, meaning there were 38 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes recorded.

The government said police agencies are improving their identification and recording of domestic abuse incidents as crimes and there is an increased willingness by victims to come forward.

“Domestic abuse is often a hidden problem, and our aim is for anyone experiencing domestic abuse to feel able to have confidence to seek help within the church setting. We want to raise awareness in our churches which would be a step towards addressing this serious moral and social problem,” Sherrington said.

The bishops have set up a website to offer resources to help fight domestic violence.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome

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