1. Other pages in this release
Domestic abuse prevalence and trends, England and Wales: year ending March 2022
Domestic abuse victim characteristics, England and Wales: year ending March 2022
Partner abuse in detail, England and Wales: year ending March 2022
Redevelopment of domestic abuse statistics: research update November 2022
How domestic abuse data are captured through the criminal justice system
2. Main points
The police recorded 910,980 domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022; a 7.7% increase compared with the previous year, continuing an increasing trend that may reflect increasing willingness of victims to report crimes.
The police made 31.3 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2022; down from 32.6 in the year ending March 2021 (in the 41 police forces that supplied complete data in both years).
The number of referrals of suspects of domestic abuse-flagged cases from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision in England and Wales fell from 77,812 in the year ending March 2021 to 67,063 in the year ending March 2022, mirroring the decrease in arrests.
The CPS domestic abuse-related charging rate in England and Wales increased for the first time in four years to 72.7% in the year ending March 2022, but remains below the year ending March 2018 (75.9%).
The average number of days to charge domestic abuse-related cases in England and Wales increased for the fourth year running to 23.8 in the year ending March 2022.
The number of domestic abuse-related CPS prosecutions in England and Wales has decreased each year since the year ending March 2017, from 93,593 to 53,207 in the year ending March 2022; a 43.2% decrease.
The percentage of prosecutions leading to a conviction decreased for the first time since the year ending March 2015, to 76.4% in the year ending March 2022; a decrease of 1.7 percentage points compared with the previous year.
3. Domestic abuse and the criminal justice system data
Domestic abuse and the criminal justice system
Dataset | Released on 25 November 2022
Data from across the government on responses to and outcomes of domestic abuse cases in the criminal justice system.
Domestic abuse in England and Wales - Data Tool
Dataset | Released on 25 November 2022
An interactive tool exploring data at police force area level.
Other important terms used in this publication are listed in the How domestic abuse data are captured through the criminal justice system glossary.
The charging rate is the number of suspects of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) domestic abuse-flagged cases that were charged as a proportion of all those that resulted in a legal decision to charge, prosecute, or issue an out-of-court disposal.
Cases where the defendant was convicted following a prosecution, comprising of either:
a conviction after trial: cases in which the defendant pleaded not guilty, but was convicted after the evidence was heard
a guilty plea: where the defendant pleaded guilty
a proof in absence: cases comprising of lesser offences which were heard by the court in the absence of the defendant
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence and can include a range of abusive behaviours. It can also be experienced as repeated patterns of abusive behaviour to maintain power and control in a relationship. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse as any incident or pattern of incidents between those aged 16 years and over who:
are a partner
are an ex-partner
are a relative
have, or there has been a time when they each have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 outlines the following behaviours as abuse:
physical or sexual abuse
violent or threatening behaviour
controlling or coercive behaviour
psychological, emotional, or other abuse
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 recognises children under the age of 18 years who see, or hear, or experience the effects of the abuse as a victim of domestic abuse if they are related or have a parental relationship to the adult victim or perpetrator of the abuse.
All cases where the defendant(s) were charged, summonsed in court, or charged by way of a postal requisition during the period. This includes those proceeding to a trial or guilty plea, those discontinued and those which could not proceed.Back to table of contents
5. Data sources and quality
This publication presents data on responses to and outcomes of domestic abuse cases from different stages of the criminal justice system. Data are sourced from the Home Office, His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
The data are not directly comparable because they are collected on different bases (for example, victims, crimes, suspects, or defendants) and different timescales and reference periods are used to collect the data. Cases may also drop out at any stage of the process. Further information on how domestic abuse cases flow through the criminal justice system and the data sources used in this publication can be found in How domestic abuse data are captured through the criminal justice system.
How the police measure domestic abuse
More information on police measures of domestic abuse can be found in our Domestic abuse prevalence and trends, England and Wales: year ending March 2022 and How domestic abuse data are captured through the criminal justice system articles.Back to table of contents
7. Cite this article
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 25 November 2022, ONS website, article, Domestic abuse and the criminal justice system, England and Wales: November 2022
Contact details for this Article
Telephone: +44 20 7592 8695