In October we published the first ever research into the shocking scale and nature of domestic abuse among blind and partially sighted people. The research revealed that 1 in 12 visually impaired people in the UK is a victim or survivor of domestic abuse, amounting to 188,000 people. With your support, we can make a difference.
Esme’s Story (TW: Themes of domestic abuse)
Esme is 35 and lives with her four children. She lost the sight in her left eye because of the domestic abuse she endured from her husband. Tragically, she did not receive hospital treatment in time to save her sight.
Esme experienced physical and emotional abuse for many years after this and found it extremely difficult to leave or seek help due to the controlling nature of her relationship and limited independence. She was deeply traumatised, prevented from attending the medical appointments she needed, and was terrified of losing her home and children. She still blames herself for staying in the situation so long, even though she was powerless to escape.
Despite the challenges she faced, Esme eventually found help and support. But Esme is one of the very few. Too many blind and partially sighted victims of domestic violence and abuse are unseen, turned away and can’t get the support they need. Lack of accessibility and confidentiality are major barriers to visually impaired people seeking crucial support, and worryingly, many domestic abuse professionals have not had specialist training to support visually impaired victims or survivors. What’s more, some survivors are encouraged to stay with their abuser by friends and family, as their abuse is perceived as their carer and their ‘best option’. Many rely on the perpetrator for practical help and experience feelings of isolation and low confidence.
Like Esme, many visually impaired victims and survivors are afraid of losing the home they feel safe in as a blind or partially sighted person.
We need your support
The Unseen report revealed that we are a long way from providing blind and partially sighted victims of domestic abuse with the support and safety they desperately need.
In response to the report, Vision Foundation is launching a special Urgent Appeal to provide funding to sight loss and specialist domestic abuse organisations to address the specific challenges faced by blind and partially sighted victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
A donation to Vision Foundation this festive season will enable us to begin our vital work and address this devastating issue. Your gift will enable us to transform services so they can support visually impaired victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse safely and effectively. To make a donation to Vision Foundation, please click the button below. Thank you for uniting with The Unseen.