Domestic Abuse: Advice for Gypsy and Travelling communities

Very little information is available on the Gypsy and Travelling communities, but those statistics that are available show that between 61 per cent and 81 per cent of Gypsy and Traveller women have experienced direct domestic abuse.

The roles of men and women in Gypsy and Travelling communities are very different. Men are responsible for the financial support of the family while the woman’s role is to look after the family and the home which can limit the opportunities for them to socialise.

At the very centre of the Gypsy and Traveller community culture is the importance of the home and family. Their culture can influence both men and women and explain why women in the community often appear to be subservient to their husbands, seeking their husband’s permission to do things many other women would do as a matter of course.

Research suggests that men in Gypsy and Traveller communities become defensive when challenged over domestic abuse. If pressured by the police that their behaviour can become even more aggressive towards their wives.

Cultural expectation can make it difficult for domestic violence to be challenged. This can include expectations that marriage is for life and that women who leave marriage are often ostracised. A Gypsy or Traveller woman leaving because of domestic abuse not only loses her home and partner, but also her community, her culture and her way of life

Domestic abuse is a crime, don’t suffer in silence.