According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) year ending March 2022, an estimated 3.5% of adults aged 16 years and over had experienced partner abuse in the last year.
There was no significant change in the prevalence of partner abuse experienced by adults aged 16 to 59 years in the last year compared with the year ending March 2020; a year largely unaffected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the last time the data were collected.
More than four in five victims of partner abuse in the last year (84.3%) experienced non-physical abuse, 12.9% experienced sexual assault and 20.8% experienced stalking.
In 72.3% of households where a child was present, the partner abuse victim reported the child or children did not see or hear what happened.
Four in five victims of partner abuse (80.4%) reported they had told someone about the abuse they had experienced in the last year with the majority (70.7%) stating they had told someone they knew personally.
Around 1 in 10 (13.3%) victims of partner abuse told the police about the abuse they had experienced in the last year.
Partner abuse in detail
Dataset | Released 25 November 2022
Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales on the prevalence and nature of partner abuse.
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.
Within the Crime Survey in England and Wales (CSEW), partner abuse is a subcategory of domestic abuse, which includes:
non-sexual abuse – physical force, emotional or financial abuse, or threats to hurt the respondent or someone close to them, carried out by a current or former partner
sexual assault – rape or assault by penetration (including attempts), or indecent exposure or unwanted touching carried out by a current or former partner
stalking – two or more incidents (causing distress, fear or alarm) of receiving obscene or threatening unwanted letters, emails, text messages or phone calls, having had obscene or threatening information about them placed on the internet, waiting or loitering around home or workplace, or following or watching by a current or former partner
Defined in the CSEW as two or more incidents (causing distress, fear or alarm) of receiving obscene or threatening unwanted letters, emails, text messages or phone calls, having had obscene or threatening information about them placed on the internet, waiting or loitering around home or workplace, or following or watching.Back to table of contents
Further quality and methodology information can be found in the Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview.
Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)
For reasons outlined in Section 2, CSEW estimates for the year ending March 2022 are not badged as National Statistics and should be treated with caution.
More information about the CSEW can be found in our:
Work to improve the data collected to measure domestic abuse from the CSEW is ongoing. More information can be found in our Redevelopment of domestic abuse statistics: research update November 2022 article.Back to table of contents
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 25 November 2022, ONS website, article, Partner abuse in detail, England and Wales: year ending March 2022
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