Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2019

Figures on domestic abuse from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, police recorded crime and a number of different organisations.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

Contact:
Email Meghan Elkin

Release date:
25 November 2019

Next release:
To be announced

1. Other pages in this release

This release brings together data on domestic abuse from a range of different organisations. Commentary on topics covered in the previous domestic abuse in England and Wales publication is now split into a number of separate publications and can be found on the following pages:

This release supports the UN 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign and the statistics are used to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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2. Main points

  • The latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show little change in the prevalence of domestic abuse in recent years.

  • In the year ending March 2019, an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.6 million women and 786,000 men).

  • The police recorded 746,219 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2019, an increase of 24% from the previous year.

  • This increase may reflect improved recording by the police and increased reporting by victims.

  • The police made 32 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2019, equating to 214,965 arrests (in the 39 police forces that supplied data).

  • Referrals of suspects of domestic abuse-flagged cases from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision fell 11%, from 110,653 in the year ending March 2018 to 98,470 in the year ending March 2019.

  • The charging rate1 in the year ending March 2019 was 74%, a small decrease compared with the previous year (76%).

  • Over three-quarters of domestic abuse-related CPS prosecutions were successful in securing a conviction in the year ending March 2019 (77%), a similar level to the previous year.

  • Over 60% of referrals made to independent domestic violence advisor services were made by the police in the year ending March 2018.

Statistician’s comment

Commenting on today’s domestic abuse figures, an ONS statistician said:

“There has been little change in the prevalence of domestic abuse estimated by the crime survey in the last year. Although the number of crimes recorded by the police has increased by nearly a quarter in the past year, this may reflect improvements in police recording and an increase in victims’ willingness to come forward.

“Of those crimes that were recorded by the police, fewer suspects were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service than the previous year. For those that appeared before the court, more than three-quarters resulted in a conviction for the perpetrator of the abuse.”

Notes for: Main points

  1. The charging rate is the number of suspects of CPS domestic abuse-flagged cases that were charged as a proportion of all those that resulted in a legal decision.
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3. Analysis of domestic abuse data

Latest figures

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) year ending March 2019, an estimated 5.7% of adults aged 16 to 74 years (2.4 million people) experienced domestic abuse in the last year (Figure 1). A higher percentage of adults experienced abuse carried out by a partner or ex-partner (4.2%) than by a family member (2.0%).

The police recorded a total of 1,316,800 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2019. Of these, 43% (570,581) were incidents not subsequently recorded as a crime. The remaining 57% (746,219) were recorded as domestic abuse-related crimes.

More information on the prevalence of domestic abuse can be found in the Domestic abuse prevalence and trends, England and Wales: year ending March 2019 publication.

Trends over time

There was no significant difference in the prevalence of domestic abuse for men and women aged 16 to 59 years1 in the year ending March 2019 compared with the year ending March 2018. However, primarily driven by a significant decrease in the year ending March 2009, the prevalence is significantly lower than that reported for the year ending March 2005 (Figure 2). For example, 4.2% of men and 8.4% of women aged 16 to 59 years had experienced domestic abuse within the last year in the year ending March 2019. This compared with 6.5% of men and 11.1% of women in the year ending March 2005.

More information on the long-term trends in domestic abuse and the characteristics of victims can be found in the Domestic abuse prevalence and trends, England and Wales: year ending March 2019 and Domestic abuse victim characteristics, England and Wales: year ending March 2019 publications.

Notes for: Analysis of domestic abuse data

  1. The age range for respondents eligible for the domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking self-completion module of the Crime Survey for England and Wales was expanded in April 2017, changing from adults aged 16 to 59 years to adults aged 16 to 74 years. Where analysis requires more than the last two years of data, the 16 to 59 years age range is used.
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4. Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

Domestic abuse prevalence and victim characteristics – Appendix tables
Dataset | Released 25 November 2019
Domestic abuse numbers, prevalence, types and victim characteristics, based upon findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime.

Domestic abuse and the criminal justice system – Appendix tables
Dataset | Released 25 November 2019
Data from across the government on responses to and outcomes of domestic abuse cases in the criminal justice system.

Partner abuse in detail – Appendix tables
Dataset | Released 25 November 2019
Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales on the prevalence and nature of partner abuse.

Domestic abuse victim services – Appendix tables
Dataset | Released 25 November 2019
Data from different organisations on the availability of domestic abuse services and the characteristics of service users.

Stalking: findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales
Dataset | Released 25 November 2019
Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales on stalking including numbers, types and victim characteristics.

Domestic abuse in England and Wales – Data tool
Dataset | Released 25 November 2019
An interactive tool exploring data at police force area level.

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5. Glossary

Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)

The CSEW is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a range of crimes in the 12 months prior to the interview. Respondents to the survey are also asked about their attitudes towards different crime-related issues, such as the police and the criminal justice system, and perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. It can include repeated patterns of abusive behaviour to maintain power and control in a relationship. It includes abuse carried out by a partner, ex-partner or family member. The government’s definition of domestic violence and abuse recognises this and defines domestic abuse as:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional”

Domestic abuse-related crimes

Incidents of domestic abuse that resulted in a crime being recorded by the police and are included in police recorded crime.

Police recorded crime

Police recorded crime data are supplied by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police. The data are an important indicator of police workload but, unlike the CSEW, do not include crimes that have not been reported to the police or incidents that the police decide not to record as crimes.

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6. Measuring the data

The domestic abuse data included in this release are sourced from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), police recorded crime, other government organisations and domestic abuse services.

The User guide to crime statistics for England and Wales provides detailed information about the crime survey and police recorded crime data.

The Domestic abuse quality and methodology information (QMI) report and the Crime in England and Wales QMI report contain important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data
  • the uses and users of the data
  • how the output was created
  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data

For further information about the data sources available from the criminal justice system see How domestic abuse data are captured through the criminal justice system.

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7. Strengths and limitations

Statistics on domestic abuse are produced separately by a number of different organisations in England and Wales. When taken in isolation, these statistics may not provide the context required to understand the national and local picture of domestic abuse.

Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, the Home Office Homicide Index and the Ministry of Justice are classified as National Statistics. Police recorded crime and outcomes data from the Home Office are classified as official statistics. National Statistics are a subset of official statistics that have been certified by the UK Statistics Authority as compliant with its Code of Practice for Statistics.

All other data included in this release are sourced from administrative datasets that do not fall within the scope of official statistics.

The way in which data on domestic abuse are collected differs between sources and organisations. The data are not directly comparable, since they are collected on different bases (for example, victims, crimes, suspects or defendants) and may not cover the same cohort because of variation in the time taken for cases to progress through the criminal justice system. As such it is necessary to look at the data presented in its entirety as each individual stage of the system is, in part, influenced by activity at a prior stage.

Alongside this release we have published a data tool that allows users to explore domestic abuse data for police force areas in more detail and compare these with similar areas within England and Wales.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Meghan Elkin
crimestatistics@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695