1. Correction

20 February 2015 at 4:00pm

After identifying an error in published tables a minor revision has been made to this release. The error relates to numbers and rates of firearm offences for the following police force areas: Kent, Humberside, Kent, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, and Devon and Cornwall.

Revisions have been made to reference tables 3.01-3.14 (within reference table 02. Appendix Tables – Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2013/14), as well as figures 3.1, 3.2, 3.4-3.8 and table 3.2 in the statistical bulletin (also contained in reference table 01. Bulletin Tables – Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2013/14).

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2. Summary

This overview covers statistics on violent offences recorded by the police and those measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). It also discusses CSEW data contained within the ‘Nature of Crime’ tables published alongside this release, which provide more detailed information on the circumstances of the offences. In addition it shows how rates of victimisation vary by different personal and area characteristics.

  • The CSEW continues to show steady declines in violent crime. Between the 1995 and the 2013/14 surveys, the number of violent crime incidents has fallen from 3.8 million in 1995 to 1.3 million in 2013/14

  • The number of violence against the person offences recorded by the police in 2013/14 rose by 6% from the previous year, following a period of year-on-year falls. It is thought that action taken by police forces to generally improve their compliance with national standards given the renewed focus on the accuracy of crime recording has led to more crimes being recorded than previously

  • The number of sexual offences (64,205) in 2013/14 was the highest recorded by the police since 2002/03. As well as improvements in recording, this is thought to reflect a greater willingness of victims to come forward to report such crimes

  • Violent crime covers a wide spectrum of offences. As seen in previous years, the less serious crimes of violence without injury accounted for the largest proportion (52%) of all CSEW violent incidents in the 2013/14 CSEW, while the more serious crimes of assault with minor injury and wounding accounted for lower proportions (24% and 23% respectively)

  • Reflecting the downward trend in the volume of incidents, victimisation rates have declined over time. For example, in 1995 (when CSEW violent crime was at its peak) 4.8% of adults aged 16 and over were a victim of violent crime in the previous year, compared with 1.8%, according to the latest survey

  • The decrease in the volume of incidents of CSEW violence over this period has been influenced more by a fall in repeat victimisation than a fall in one-off victimisation. In 1995, 69% of violent crime incidents were experienced by repeat victims, compared with 54% in the 2013/14 CSEW

  • Consistent with previous years, the proportion of adult victims of violent crime in the 2013/14 survey varied by personal and household characteristics. For example, males were more likely to be a victim of violent crime than females, as were adults aged 16 to 24 compared with all other age groups. Adults in low income households were more likely to be a victim than those in high income households

  • In the 2013/14 CSEW, 50% of adult victims of a violent incident said that the police came to know about the matter, compared with 39% for all CSEW crime

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3. Introduction

Violent crime covers a wide range of offences, from minor assaults such as pushing and shoving that result in no physical harm through to serious incidents of wounding and homicide. Sexual offences include rape, sexual assault and unlawful sexual activity against adults and children, sexual grooming and indecent exposure.

Police recorded crime encompasses a full range of violent crimes and sexual offences, although is restricted to those crimes that have been reported to and recorded by them. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) covers crimes against the population of England and Wales resident in households, and crimes against those households. It covers a narrower range of offences than police recorded violence, although it provides a good measure of the volume of violent crime offences as it is able to capture offences experienced by respondents that have not been reported to or recorded by the police. Therefore reported volumes of CSEW violent crime are higher than those included in the police recorded crime collection. The CSEW does not include homicides or sexual offences in its headline estimates, although it does contain a separate self-completion module which asks 16 to 59 year old respondents about their experience of intimate violence (see the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter of this release). The CSEW also does not cover the population living in group residences (for example, care homes or halls of residence) or other institutions, nor does it cover the population not resident in households (for example, tourists or visitors), or crimes against the commercial or business sector.

In 2009, the CSEW was extended to cover children aged 10 to 15, and, where appropriate, data for this age group are presented in this overview chapter.

CSEW violent crime

Violent crime statistics from the CSEW are presented under the overall category of ‘Violence’, and include offences involving violence with injury (wounding, assault with minor injury), and violence without injury. There are additional breakdowns for the offender-victim relationship. Changes to the CSEW violence category have recently been introduced in ONS publications following a consultation1 with users in 2012, relating to the presentation of crime statistics. Previously robbery, an offence in which violence or the threat of violence is used during a theft (or attempted theft), was included within CSEW ‘Violence’, but is now presented as a stand-alone category, consistent with the categorisation used for police recorded crime2.

Therefore, references to ‘violent crime’ and ‘violence’ within the CSEW-related text, figures and tables of this bulletin refer primarily to the CSEW crimes of wounding, assault with minor injury, and violence without injury. Some statistics relating to robbery are briefly discussed, although more detailed coverage of statistics on robbery can be found in Focus on Property Crime, 2013/14.

Police recorded violent crime

The coverage of police recorded crime is defined by the Notifiable Offence List3, which includes a broad range of violent offences, ranging from threats to kill, harassment, and assault without injury, to offences involving grievous bodily harm and homicide4.

In accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, statistics based on police recorded crime data have been assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) continue to be badged as National Statistics.

Additionally, following an inquiry by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) into crime statistics in which allegations of under-recording of crime by the police were made5, HMIC carried out an inspection of the integrity of police crime recording during 2014.

The final report on findings from the HMIC inspections, ‘Crime-recording: making the victim count’, was published on 18 November 20146. Based on an audit of a large sample of records, HMIC concluded that, across England and Wales as a whole an estimated one in five offences (19%) that should have been recorded as crimes were not. The greatest levels of under-recording were seen for sexual offences and violence against the person offences, compared to lower levels for property related offences such as burglary and criminal damage. Nationally, an estimated one in four (26%) sexual offences and one in three (33%) violent offences that should have been recorded as crimes were not.

As a result of the renewed focus on the quality of crime recording by the police, caution should therefore be taken when interpreting statistics on police recorded crime. For more information see the ‘Accuracy of the Statistics’ section in the statistical bulletin, Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending September 2014.

Notes for introduction

  1. For more details see the ‘Future dissemination strategy for the publication of National Statistics on Crime in England and Wales’.

  2. See the methodological note ‘Presentational and methodological improvements to National Statistics on the Crime Survey for England and Wales’ for more information.

  3. The Notifiable Offence List includes all indictable and triable-either-way offences (which could be tried at a crown court) and a few additional closely related summary offences (which would be dealt with by a magistrate). For information on the classifications used for notifiable crimes recorded by the police, see Appendix 1 of the User Guide.

  4. There are some crimes which are not captured in this bulletin, which may involve some degree of violence but which do not have a specific victim, for example, public order offences. See Appendix table A4, Year ending March 2014 for police recorded figures for public order offences.

  5. Part of the evidence considered by PASC included analysis demonstrating a growing pattern of divergence between police recorded crime figures and CSEW estimates (see Methodological note: analysis of variation in crime trends) which has questioned whether there may have been a ‘gradual erosion of compliance’ with the NCRS from 2007.

  6. Separate crime inspection force reports for each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales were published on 27 November 2014.

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4. Extent of violent crime

The 2013/14 CSEW estimates that there were 1.3 million incidents of violence against adults in England and Wales1. Figure 1.1 shows that violence without injury (where the victim is punched, kicked, pushed or jostled with no resulting injury) accounted for just over half of all CSEW violent incidents (52%). Violence with injury is broken down into assault with minor injury (where the victim is punched, kicked, pushed or jostled with resulting minor injury, such as scratches or bruises) which accounted for 24% of violent incidents, and wounding (where the incident results in severe or less serious injury2) which made up 23% of incidents.

The CSEW also estimates crimes against children aged 10 to 15 resident in households3. The 2013/14 CSEW estimated that there were 445,000 violent offences4 against children in England and Wales in the previous 12 months. This equates to 6.5% of children being a victim of violent crime in the past year; with 4.5% having experienced violence with injury (Bulletin table 23a, Year Ending September 2014). These data are not directly comparable with the data related to adults (see Section 2.4 of Millard and Flatley, 2010 for further details). Being an offence-based collection, age of victims is not available from the aggregate returns that make up the police recorded crime series.

There were 634,462 violence against the person offences recorded by the police in 2013/145 . Of these, 322,737 were classified as violence with injury and the remaining 311,190 as violence without injury. Importantly, police recording of a crime is based on the element of intent rather than outcome. Therefore incidents classified as violence with injury will include crimes based on the deliberate attempt of the offender to cause serious bodily harm, regardless of whether any injury was sustained by the victim. Over half of violence without injury offences were classified as assaults without injury6 (68%), with the remainder covering a range of offences, including harassments7 (Appendix table A4, Year Ending September 2014).

Notes for Extent of violent crime

  1. 'All violence' includes violence with injury (wounding, assault with minor injury), and violence without injury. For more information see Chapter 5.1 of the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales.

  2. For example, cuts, severe bruising, chipped teeth, bruising or scratches resulting in medical attention or any more serious injury.

  3. These are based on a ‘preferred measure’ that takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incident such as the relationship of the victim to the offender and the level of injury to the victim. See Chapter 2.5 of the User Guide for further information.

  4. With regard to CSEW violent crime against children aged 10 to 15, robbery is presented under the category of ‘Violence’.

  5. Recorded crime figures presented in this release are those notified to the Home Office and that were recorded in the Home Office database on 1st December 2014, covering the financial year 2013/14 – see Appendix table A4, Year Ending September 2014 for the full data table.

  6. Assaults without injury offences are those where at the most a feeling of touch or passing moment of pain is experienced by the victim.

  7. Harassment offences are those incidents where no other substantive notifiable offence exists, but when looked at as a course of conduct are likely to cause fear, alarm or distress.

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6. Type of violence

Within the overall category of police recorded violence against the person, there were falls in both violence with injury (13%) and violence without injury (7%) in 2013/14 compared with 2002/03. An increase in offences was evident between 2012/13 and 2013/14, with violence with injury rising by 3% and violence without injury rising by 8% ( Appendix table A4, Year Ending September 2014 (515 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Figure 1.3 shows trends in CSEW violence by type of violence1, revealing large reductions across all violent crime types between current estimates and those in the mid to late 1990s. Assaults with minor injury have decreased by 76% between the peak in 1995 and the 2013/14 CSEW, while wounding and violence without injury decreased by 66% and 56% respectively over the same time period. Between 2012/13 and 2013/14, similar decreases were evident for both wounding, which fell by 34%, and assault with injury, which fell by 37%, while violence without injury rose by 2%.

Further evidence on trends in violent crime involving injury is available from administrative data collected from health services. These data will include some incidents not reported to the police and some populations not covered by the CSEW (e.g. those living students’ halls of residence, tourists, or homeless people). Statistics on NHS hospitals admissions show that for the 12 months to the end of March 2014 there were 31,243 hospital admissions for assault, a reduction of 5% compared with figures for the preceding 12 months2. In addition, research conducted by the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University (Sivarajasingham et al., 2014) estimated that 234,509 people attended emergency departments or minor injury units in England and Wales for treatment following violence in 2013, 13% fewer people than in 2012. Their annual survey also shows an overall decrease of 12% in serious violence-related attendances in 2013 compared with 2012, and further indicates that trends in hospital data on violence fit well with CSEW patterns.

Notes for type of violence

  1. See Chapter 5.1 of the User Guide for more information on the offences included in this breakdown.

  2. Based on the latest National Health Service (NHS) Hospital Episode Statistics and hospital admissions due to assault (dated 15 July 2014). These do not include figures for Wales and relate to activity in English NHS hospitals.

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7. Relationship between victims and perpetrators of violence

In addition to the type of incident and level of injury sustained, information is available to look at the relationship between victims of violence and their perpetrators.

Findings from the 2013/14 CSEW show that 42% of offences were perpetrated by a stranger1, 37% by an acquaintance2, and the remaining 21% were categorised as domestic violence (Appendix table A6, Year Ending September 2014). Domestic violence refers to incidents reported through the face-to-face interview questions, however it is important to bear in mind that domestic violence measured this way is prone to under-reporting; therefore the figure mentioned above is likely to be an underestimation. The separate self-completion section of the survey, collected on a comparable basis since 2004/05 and presented in the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter, reveals higher levels of victimisation, and provides a greater level of detail3.

Figure 1.4 shows that incidents of CSEW domestic violence peaked in 1993 (1.1 million offences) and have since fallen by 75% to 280,000 offences in the 2013/14 survey; Incidents of stranger violence have fallen by 45% from the peak in 1995 (1 million offences) to 553,000 offences in the 2013/14 survey; and CSEW acquaintance violence fell by 73% from the peak in 1995 (1.8 million offences) to 2013/14 (0.5 million offences). Acquaintance violence in particular is a large-volume offence, and its substantial changes seen since the mid 1990s have been an important driver of changes in overall violence, and to some extent in overall CSEW crime.

Notes for relationship between victims and perpetrators of violence

  1. Stranger violence includes wounding and assaults in which the victim did not have any information about the offender(s), or did not know and had never seen the offender(s) before.

  2. Acquaintance violence is comprised of wounding and assaults in which the victim knew one of more of the offenders at least by sight. It does not include domestic violence.

  3. The self-completion module gives a more accurate picture of the extent of domestic abuse as it uses a broader definition that includes emotional or financial abuse or threats to hurt the respondent or someone close to them.

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9. Sexual offences

The number of police recorded sexual offences in the year to March 2014 showed a 20% increase compared with the previous year, rising to a total of 64,205 incidents across England and Wales. This latest figure is the highest ever recorded on a financial year basis. Within this, the number of offences of rape increased by 26% to 20,745 incidents, and the number of other sexual offences increased by 17% to 43,460 incidents (Appendix table A4, Year Ending September 2014).

These increases should be seen in the context of Operation Yewtree and other high profile cases involving sexual abuse. While some of these increases will be a direct consequence of the historical crimes reported as part of Operation Yewtree, there is evidence to suggest that there has been a wider ‘Yewtree effect’. This refers to an increased willingness on the part of victims of sexual offences that are not directly connected to Yewtree to come forward to report both historical and recent sexual offences1.

Further insight into the ‘Yewtree effect’ can be provided by looking at the Home Office Data Hub, a record level dataset of police recorded offences2. Previous quarterly statistical bulletins have shown historical offences were the largest contributor to the increase in sexual offences. However, historical offences are now making less of a contribution to the overall rise whilst the contribution made by recent or ‘current’ offences has increased3. The 22 forces for which data were available show that the majority of the increase in sexual offences in 2013/14 occurred within the previous 12 months (62%).

Further evidence that the increase in police recorded sexual offences is a result of a ‘Yewtree effect’ comes from the 2013/14 CSEW. In the year to March 2014 the self-completion section of the CSEW showed a small but statistically significant decrease in the sexual assault victimisation rate compared with the previous year. Since incidents reported in the survey are unlikely to have been affected by Operation Yewtree, or the publicity surrounding it, the decrease suggests that sexual offences recorded by the police would not have been increasing at their current rate if it were not for the effects of Operation Yewtree.

Improved compliance with recording standards for sexual offences in some police forces may also have been a factor in the rise. The improvement in recording of sexual offences by the police comes after investigation by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) following allegations of under-recording of crime by the police. HMIC carried out an inspection of the integrity of police recorded crime (over the period December 2013 to August 2014) and the final report on their findings, ‘Crime-recording: making the victim count’, was published on 18 November 20144. HMIC concluded that the greatest levels of under-recording were seen for sexual offences and violence against the person offences; with regard to sexual offences in particular, nationally, an estimated one of four (26%) sexual offences that should have been recorded as crimes were not5.

More information on sexual offending from across the crime and criminal justice system can be found in ‘An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales’. This is a joint publication compiled by the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and the Office for National Statistics which was published in January 2013, and used combined CSEW data from the years 2009/10 to 2011/12.

Additional information from the CSEW

The following sections of the overview contain additional analysis from the CSEW including levels of victimisation, timing and location of incidents, reporting to the police, profile of offenders, impact on victims and use of weapons.

Notes for sexual offences

  1. See HMIC’s 2013 report ‘Mistakes were made’.

  2. Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics.

  3. The Sexual Offences Act 2003, introduced in May 2004, altered the definition and coverage of sexual offences.

  4. This refers to any sexual assault, including attempts.

  5. Separate crime inspection force reports for each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales were published on 27 November 2014.

  6. For more information see the ‘Accuracy of the Statistics’ section in the statistical bulletin, Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending September 2014.

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10. Levels of victimisation

The CSEW provides victimisation rates for overall violence and for each individual crime type. Figure 1.6 shows that 1.8% of adults aged 16 and over were a victim of violence in the 2013/14 CSEW; 0.9% were a victim of violence without injury, 0.5% a victim of wounding, and 0.5% a victim of assault with minor injury.

Victimisation rates for violent crime have fallen considerably since 1995 when crime was at its peak. In 1995 the CSEW estimated that 4.8% of adults aged 16 and over were a victim of violence compared with less than half that figure on the 2013/14 survey (1.8%). Victimisation rates for all types of CSEW violence have dropped by more than half between 1995 and the 2013/14 survey (Appendix table A3, Year Ending September 2014).

In the 2013/14 CSEW, 6.5% of children aged 10-15 were a victim of violent crime; 4.5% were a victim of violence with injury, and 2.2% were a victim of violence without injury1 (Annual trend and demographic table D3, Year Ending March 2014).

Notes for levels of victimisation

  1. Some methodological differences between the adult and children’s survey mean that direct comparisons cannot be made between the adult and child victimisation data.
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11. Repeat victimisation

According to the 2013/14 CSEW, 73% of victims of violence were victimised once, while 27% were victimised more than once. This repeat victimisation can be broken down further, with 14% victimised twice, and 13% victimised three times or more (Annual trend and demographic table D5, Year Ending March 2014).

In 1995 when CSEW violence peaked, 69% of incidents were experienced by repeat victims, compared with 54% in the 2013/14 survey (Annual trend and demographic table D7, Year Ending March 2014). Between 1995 and the 2013/14 survey the number of incidents of violence experienced by repeat victims decreased by 73%, compared with a decrease of 48% in the number of incidents experienced by those who were victimised once. The decrease in the volume of incidents of violence over this period has therefore been influenced more by the fall in repeat victimisation than the fall in one-off victimisation. This pattern (repeated across most crime types) is an important factor in considering the drop in crime since the mid-1990s. For more information on repeat victimisation for other crime types, see Focus on Property Crime, 2012/13 (Chapter 2).

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12. Characteristics associated with being a victim

The proportion of adult victims of violent crime in the 2013/14 survey varied significantly by certain personal and household characteristics (see Appendix tables 1.01 and 1.02 for a full breakdown). Many of the characteristics are closely associated, so caution is needed in the interpretation of these different characteristics when viewed in isolation. Separate analysis on the characteristics associated with being a victim of intimate personal violence is available in the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter of this publication.

Figure 1.7 shows that, consistent with previous years, men were more likely to be a victim of violent crime than women (2.3% of males compared with 1.4% of females1). There is some variation when this is broken down by type of violence, with men more likely to be a victim of stranger violence than women (1.4% and 0.4%, respectively), and women more likely to be a victim of domestic violence than men (0.4% and 0.2%, respectively) (see Appendix tables 1.03). Also adults aged 16 to 24 were more than twice as likely to be a victim of violent crime than any other age group, and adults who were single were more likely to be a victim of violent crime (3.8%) than adults who were married (0.9%).

With regard to household characteristics, private renters were more likely to be a victim of a violent crime (2.9%) than home owners (1.2%), as were adults in low income households of less than £10,000 (2.6 %) compared with those in high income households of £50,000 or more (1.7%).

The chance of being a victim of violent crime also showed variations by personal and household characteristics for children aged 10 to 15. Children with a long-standing illness or disability were more than twice as likely to have been a victim of violence as those without one (13.0% compared with 5.9%) (this was not found to be statistically significant for adults), and children in low income households of less than £10,000 were over three times more likely (9.0%) to have been a victim than those in high income households of £50,000 or more (2.5%). The apparent boys were more likely than girls to have experienced violent crime (7.0% compared with 5.9%) was not statistically significant ( Annual trend and demographic tables D3 and D4, Year Ending March 2014 (403 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Notes for characteristics associated with being a victim

  1. This pattern is different for domestic violence and sexual violence. For more information please see the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter of this publication.
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13. Reporting to the police

In the 2013/14 CSEW, 50% of adult victims of a violent incident said that the police came to know about the matter. This is higher than for previous years, although it is too early to judge whether this is an early sign of increasing reporting rates or just a short term fluctuation. Annual trend and demographic table D8, Year Ending March 2014 (403 Kb Excel sheet) ). This latest reporting rate for violence compares with a reporting rate for all CSEW crime of 39%.

Figure 1.8 shows that, as in previous years, variations continue to occur by violence type, with the police coming to know about 47% of incidents of assault with minor injury or no injury in 2013/14, compared with 59% of wounding incidents. This suggests that respondents are more likely to report more serious offences to the police. For information on the reporting rates of serious sexual assault see the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter of this bulletin.

In the 2013/14 CSEW, 13% of violent incidents against children aged 10-15 became known to the police ( Table 4.5 Nature of Crime tables (138 Kb Excel sheet) ). This lower proportion compared with adults is likely to reflect the less serious nature of such incidents experienced by victims aged 10-15.

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14. Timing of violent crimes

In the survey interview, victims of violent crime were asked about the circumstances of the incident, including when it happened. The 2013/14 CSEW indicated, as shown in Table 1.1 below, that violence occurs mostly in the evening or night (68%). Despite some year on year fluctuations, this general pattern is consistent with previous years, and also applies to all different categories of CSEW violence.

Looking at the days of the week on which violent offences take place, Table 1.1 shows that, for overall violence, 49% of incidents occurred during the week and 51% of incidents occurred at the weekend. It is probable that most of the incidents occurring at the weekend took place on Friday or Saturday night. Information on police recorded crime for 19 forces from the Home Office Data Hub1 supports this assertion, with Friday and Saturday showing the highest proportion of violent crimes recorded between the hours of 9pm to 3am (42% and 44% respectively). This may reflect the greater influence of alcohol consumption on these particular days and times (see the ‘Alcohol and Violence’ chapter for more information on temporal patterns). A higher proportion of wounding incidents occurred at the weekend (63%) compared with other types of violence.

In the 2013/14 CSEW, 86% of incidents of violence against children aged 10-15 occurred during the week and 14% of incidents occurred during the weekend. This means that the likelihood of a child aged 10 to 15 being a victim of violence is higher during the week. This highlights the different lifestyles of children compared to adults, and also reflects the fact that a large proportion of incidents occurred in and around school (62% of incidents) ( Table 4.1 Nature of Crime (138 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Notes for timing of violent crimes

  1. The Data Hub includes additional information provided by police forces, such as when an offence took place, as well as when it was recorded by the police.
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15. Where violent crimes happen

In the 2013/14 CSEW, the location of where incidents of violent crime took place was found to vary by offender-victim relationship. Figure 1.9 shows that the large majority of incidents of domestic violence occurred at home (73%), compared with incidents of stranger violence which were most likely to occur in the street (38%) and in pubs or clubs (29%); incidents of acquaintance violence were most likely to take place at work (31%). Looking at the location of these incidents split by type of violent crime ( Table 3.2 Nature of Crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ), incidents of wounding were equally likely to occur at home or in a pub or club (27% each). Incidents of violence without injury were more likely to happen at work than incidents of violence with injury (27% compared with 10%)1.

Notes for where violent crimes happen

  1. Some methodological differences between the adult and children’s survey mean that direct comparisons cannot be made between the adult and child victimisation data.
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16. Profile of offenders involved in violent crimes

Victims of violent crime were able to provide some detail about the offender(s) in 99% of incidents ( Table 3.1 Nature of crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ). As with victims of overall crime, offenders were most likely to be male and aged between 16 and 24. In just under half of violent incidents (46%) the offender was believed to be aged between 16 and 24 years and in three-quarters of violent incidents the offender was male (75%). In 72% of violent incidents a sole offender was believed to have been involved, while in 14% of incidents, victims reported that four or more offenders were involved.

In 41% of violent incidents the offender was a stranger; in 39% the offender was well known to the victim and in 20% the offender was known by sight or to speak to. Partner abuse incidents such as sexual assault show their own patterns in offender characteristics, see ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter for more information.

According to the 2013/14 CSEW, victims believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol in around half (53%) of all violent incidents, or an estimated 704,000 offences1. In nearly a quarter (23%) or an estimated 304,000 violent incidents, the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of drugs ( Table 3.11 Nature of Crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ). For more information on alcohol-related violence see the ‘Alcohol and Violence’ chapter of this publication.

In the 2013/14 CSEW, in 95% of violent incidents against children aged 10-15 the victim was able to say something about the offender. Incidents of violence were most likely to be committed by someone ‘known well’ (48% of incidents). In 68% of violent incidents against children the offender was a pupil at the victim’s school and in 15% of incidents the offender was a friend (including boyfriend/girlfriend). In 15% of incidents the offender was a stranger, compared with 41% in violence against adults in the 2013/14 survey. In incidents of violence against children aged 10-15 the offender was most likely to be male (in 65% of incidents) and aged between 10 and 15 (79%) ( Table 4.3 Nature of crime (138 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Notes for profile of offenders involved in violent crimes

  1. Questions were asked if the victim was able to say something about the offender(s), which they could do in nearly all (99%) incidents. If there was more than one offender, victims were asked if any of the offenders were perceived to be under the influence. Questions were not asked if any offender was perceived to be under 10 years.
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17. Impact on victims

The CSEW also asks victims about the impact of the crime they had experienced ( Table 3.4 Nature of crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ). Figure 1.10 shows that in 77% of violent incidents the respondent was ‘emotionally affected’, including 22% who were affected very much. The proportion of violence victims who were very much emotionally affected was lower than that of victims of theft from a dwelling (34%) or theft of a vehicle (29%), but higher than other types of crime (for example, criminal damage, at 11%) (Figure 1.16 Focus on Property Crime, 2013/14 (303.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

When this is broken down by type of injury it can be seen that in 90% of incidents of wounding, victims stated they were ‘emotionally affected’, a higher proportion than seen for victims of assault with minor injury (76%) and victims of violence without injury (72%). In terms of the severity of the emotional impact, victims of wounding were the most likely to report that they were very emotionally affected (30%). The proportion of victims of violence without injury reporting that they were very emotionally affected was higher in the 2013/14 survey (20%) than seen in recent years, although this crime type also had the highest proportion of victims stating that they were not emotionally affected at all (28%).

The most common forms of emotional reaction to violent crimes in the 2013/14 CSEW were shock (44%) and anger (40%)1. The emotional reaction was broadly similar across different types of injury ( Table 3.4 Nature of Crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Victims of violence were asked to rate the seriousness of each incident on a scale of 1 to 202. Figure 1.11 shows that, as in previous years, wounding was considered to be a more serious violent crime (mean score 8.9) than assault with minor injury (mean score 6.2) and violence without injury (mean score 6.7). Looking in more detail at the seriousness scores ( Table 3.5 Nature of Crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ) in the 2013/14 survey, half of violence victims (54%) rated the incident in the least serious range (1-6), while 16% rated it in the most serious range (14-20).

Victims aged 10 to 15 were also asked about the seriousness of crimes they experienced. Based on the 2013/14 survey, 22% of violence victims aged 10 to 15 thought the incident was ‘a crime’, 45% thought it ‘wrong, but not a crime’, and 33% thought it ‘was just something that happens’. In addition, 55% of incidents were perceived by the victim to be part of a series of bullying incidents. In comparison, 52% of theft victims aged 10 to 15 perceived the incident to be a crime. This reflects the fact that the measure of violence against children aged 10 to 15 includes a large proportion of low level incidents which may involve a crime in law (e.g. one child deliberately pushing over another with the intention of hurting them) but which may not be viewed as serious enough to amount to a offence (Millard and Flatley, 2010).

Notes for impact on victims

  1. Respondents can report more than one emotion.

  2. Respondents are asked to use this scale, with “1 being a very minor crime like theft of milk bottles from a doorstep, and 20 being the most serious crime of murder”.

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18. Use of weapons and injuries in violent crimes

According to the 2013/14 CSEW, in 19% of violent incidents a weapon was used ( Table 3.9 Nature of Crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ). This is a fall of 7 percentage points since 2004/05 (26%), although the level of incidents involving a weapon has remained fairly stable since the 2008/09 survey. The most commonly used weapons in the 2013/14 survey were a knife or a hitting implement (each used in 6% of violent incidents).

In the 2013/14 CSEW, victims sustained a physical injury in 48% of incidents of violence. The most common type of injury in incidents of violence was minor bruising/black eye (27% of incidents). A lower proportion of incidents involved more serious injuries such as broken bones (3%), concussion or loss of consciousness (2%) or a broken nose (1%) ( Table 3.7 Nature of Crime (384 Kb Excel sheet) ).

In the 2013/14 CSEW, 8% of incidents against children aged 10 to 15 involved the use of a weapon. Knives, screwdrivers or stabbing implements were used in 44% of incidents involving weapons; sticks, clubs and hitting implements were used in 28% of incidents involving weapons and ‘something else’ was used in 25% of incidents involving weapons1 ( Table 4.7 Nature of Crime (138 Kb Excel sheet) )2.

The survey asks children about injuries sustained through violence. Based on the 2013/14 CSEW 71% of victims aged 10 to 15 sustained an injury and 15% of victims received some form of medical attention. Of those incidents where the victim aged 10 to 15 sustained an injury 64% had minor bruising/black eye and 22% had scratches. In 4% of violent incidents where the victim aged 10 to 15 sustained an injury this was a serious injury3 ( Table 4.6 Nature of Crime (138 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Notes for use of weapons and injuries in violent crimes

  1. Respondents could name more than one type of weapon, and so percentages add up to more than 100%.

  2. Figures are based on analysis of a small number of victims and should be interpreted with caution.

  3. Serious injury includes facial/head injuries, broken nose, concussion, broken bones.

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19. Findings from the 2013 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS)

The 2013 CVS1 examined the extent of crime across four business sectors in England and Wales in the previous twelve months2, including, among other crimes, the extent of assaults and threats. Assaults and threats were the most common crime among the accommodation and food service premises, making up 42% of all incidents against this sector (240,000 incidents). 15% of premises in this sector had experienced at least one such incident. Victims of this crime experienced a relatively high level of repeat victimisation, with an average of 13 incidents in the 12 months prior to interview. A small proportion of incidents were reported to have involved a knife (1%) or other weapon not including a firearm (6%). In 16% of the most recent incidents, employees had been physically hurt.

Assaults and threats made up 22% of all incidents in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector (thefts were the most common crime, accounting for 28% of all crime). 13% of premises had experienced assaults and threats, with an average of 8 incidents per victimised premises. An employee was physically injured in 10% of such incidents; while there were no reported incidents involving a knife or firearm, 5% of incidents reportedly involved some other weapon (e.g. baseball bat).

Among the wholesale and retail sector, 5% of crimes experienced were assaults or threats, with 8% of premises having experienced this crime in the previous 12 months. Less than 1% of assaults and threats in this sector involved a knife, and 1% involved some other weapon. A lower proportion of premises in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector had experienced assault or threats in the previous twelve months (4%), with an average of 4 incidents per victimised premises. Such crimes accounted for 11% of all crimes against this sector.

The proportion of incidents of assaults and threats reported to the police ranged from 36% in the wholesale and retail sector to 51% in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, although this compares with much higher reporting rates across all sectors for burglary with entry, ranging between 79% (agriculture, forestry and fishing sector) to 88% (arts, entertainment and recreation sector).

Notes for findings from the 2013 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS)

  1. Results from the 2014 CVS will be published in April 2015.

  2. The CVS is a telephone interview, for which the 2013 survey was based on 4,041 interviews with respondents at premises in the four industry sectors of wholesale and retail; accommodation and food; arts entertainment and recreation; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. Between them, these four sectors account for just over one-third of all business premises in England and Wales.

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20. Summary of homicides, weapons and intimate personal violence (IPV) analysis

The following sections provide a short summary of the statistics presented in the remaining parts of this publication on homicides, weapons and intimate personal violence.

Homicide

There are two sources of homicide1 data; the Home Office Homicide Index and the main recorded crime data return. The Homicide Index is a record level dataset of every homicide that the police deal with in England and Wales. It is continually updated with revised information from the police and the courts and, as such, is a richer source of data than the main recorded crime dataset. Data presented in this publication are taken from a snapshot of the Homicide Index, frozen for analysis on 5 November 2014. Due to the different sources, figures presented here differ slightly from those presented in recent quarterly bulletins, which present homicide figures sourced from the main recorded crime return2.

The Homicide Index shows that in 2013/14, there were 526 currently recorded3 homicides in England and Wales, which is 21 fewer than the 547 recorded in 2012/13 (a decrease of 4%). Over recent years, the number of homicides has shown a general downward trend, the numbers for 2013/14 (526) and 2011/12 (528) being the lowest since 1989 (521). To put the number of homicides in context, the incidence rate for homicide remains relatively low, with 9.2 homicides recorded per million population during 2013/14.

Homicide figures may be compared with other causes of death; figures for 20134 show that more people were killed as a result of falls (4,251), intentional self-harm (3,977), and transport accidents (1,611). Fewer were killed by exposure to smoke, fire and flames (246) or accidental drowning or submersion (218).

For further information on homicide, see the ‘Homicide’ chapter of this publication.

Offences involving firearms

Due to the serious nature of offences involving weapons, additional information is supplied by the police to the Home Office on offences where firearms have been used. Offences relating to firearms are those where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument (hitting a victim with the weapon) or as a threat. Figures in this publication include air weapons offences, which are excluded from the provisional estimates released in Crime statistics, period ending March 2014.

Between 2012/13 and 2013/14, the total number of firearm offences fell by 5% from 8,135 to 7,709 with both air weapon and non-air weapon offences showing similar proportional decreases.

For further details on firearm offences see the ‘Recorded Offences Involving the use of Weapons’ chapter of this publication.

Offences involving knives or sharp instruments

For the selected offences5 where additional data on the use of knives or sharp instruments6 are collected, the police recorded 25,972 offences in 2013/14. This represents a 2% decrease on the previous year when 26,553 offences were recorded. Of the 25,972 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, 46% were as part of a robbery, 46% were used in offences of assault with injury/assault with intent to cause harm, 5% were threats to kill, 1% were rapes and sexual assaults, 1% were attempted murder offences and 1% were homicides. Overall the proportion of selected violent and sexual offences involving a knife or sharp instrument was 6% in 2013/14, showing little change since 2010/11.

For further information see the ‘Recorded Offences Involving the use of Weapons’ chapter of this publication.

Domestic abuse and intimate personal violence

Intimate personal violence is a collective term used to refer to domestic abuse (which includes a number of different forms of physical and non-physical abuse)7, sexual assault8 and stalking9. It is difficult to obtain reliable information on the extent of intimate violence as there is a degree of under-reporting of these incidents, affecting both the CSEW and police recorded crime figures.

Due to the sensitivity of questions on intimate personal violence, a separate self-completion module is included in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) which asks 16 to 59 year old respondents about their experience of intimate violence. Estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence (a narrower definition than domestic abuse) based on face-to-face CSEW interviews are regularly published10 and are discussed in an earlier section of this chapter, but this crime type is particularly liable to under-reporting in face-to-face interviews. This is due to the issue of willingness to disclose incidents in face-to-face interviews.

In the last year, 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse, equivalent to an estimated 1.4 million female victims and 700,000 male victims. There was no statistically significant change in the level of domestic abuse experienced in the last year between the 2012/13 and 2013/14 surveys. For more information see the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter of this publication.

As well as questions on experience of intimate personal violence, the CSEW self-completion module also includes a set of questions asking victims for further details about the nature of the incidents they experienced. These questions focus in alternate survey years on partner abuse or serious sexual assault. The questions in the 2013/14 CSEW focused on the nature of serious sexual assault, and all the findings can be found in the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’ chapter of this publication. For more information on partner abuse see Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2012/13.

Notes for summary of homicides, weapons and intimate personal violence (IPV) analysis

  1. Homicide covers murder, manslaughter (including corporate manslaughter) and infanticide.

  2. See Chapter 5.1 of the User Guide for more information on the two sources of homicide data.

  3. See the ‘Homicide’ chapter for more information on ‘currently’ recorded homicides – the main police recorded crime collection showed 537 homicides for the same period.

  4. See Table 5.19 of Mortality Statistics: Deaths registered in England and Wales (Series DR), 2013.

  5. Seven of the more serious types of offence in the recorded crime data (homicide, threats to kill, assault with injury/assault with intent to cause harm, robbery, attempted murder, rape and sexual assault) can be broken down according to whether or not a knife or sharp instrument was involved.

  6. A sharp instrument is any object that pierces the skin (or in the case of a threat, is capable of piercing the skin), for example a broken bottle.

  7. Domestic abuse includes non-physical abuse, threats, force, sexual assault or stalking carried out by a current or former partner or other family member. ‘Domestic abuse’ is wider than the main CSEW ‘domestic violence’ category.

  8. Sexual assault includes rape or assault by penetration including attempts (‘serious’), indecent exposure, sexual threats or unwanted touching (‘less serious’) carried out by any person.

  9. Stalking includes, among other things, receiving obscene or threatening unwanted letters, e-mails, text messages or phone calls, waiting or loitering around home or workplace, or following or watching by any person, including a partner or family member.

  10. See Appendix Table A3 of quarterly crime statistics publications.

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21 .References

Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), 2013, ‘Provisional Monthly Hospital Episode Statistics for Admitted Patient Care, Outpatients and Accident and Emergency Data – April 2012 to March 2013

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2013, ‘Mistakes were made: HMIC’s review into allegations and intelligence material concerning Jimmy Savile between 1964 and 2012

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2014a, ‘Crime data integrity force reports

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2014b, ‘Crime-recording: making the victim count

Millard and Flatley, eds. 2010, ‘Experimental statistics on victimisation of children aged 10 to 15: Findings from the British Crime Survey for the year ending December 2009 England and Wales’, Home Office statistical bulletin 11/10

MoJ, ONS, Home Office, 2013, ‘An overview of sexual offending in England and Wales

Office for National Statistics, 2013a, ‘Analysis of variation in crime trends: A study of trends in ‘comparable crime’ categories between the Crime Survey of England and Wales and the police recorded crime series between 1981 and 2011/12

Office for National Statistics, 2013b, ‘Presentational changes to National Statistics on police recorded crime in England and Wales

Office for National Statistics, 2013c, ‘Future dissemination strategy for the publication of national Statistics on Crime in England and Wales

Office for National Statistics, 2013d, ‘Focus on Property Crime, 2012/13

Office for National Statistics, 2014a, ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2012/13

Office for National Statistics, 2014b, ‘Presentational and methodological improvements to National Statistics on the Crime Survey for England and Wales

Office for National Statistics, 2014c, Crime Statistics, period ending March 2014

Office for National Statistics, 2014d, ‘Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR)

Office for National Statistics, 2014e, ‘Focus on Property Crime, 2013/14

Office for National Statistics, 2015a, Crime Statistics, period ending September 2014

Office for National Statistics, 2015b, ‘User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales

Public Administration Select Committee, 2013, ‘Crime Statistics, HC760: Evidence heard, Questions 1-135

Public Administration Select Committee, 2014, ‘Caught red handed: Why we can’t count on police recorded crime statistics

Sivarajasingam, V., Wells, J.P., Moore, S., Page, N. and Shepherd, J.P., 2014, ‘Violence in England and Wales in 2013: An Accident and Emergency Perspective’, Cardiff: Cardiff University

UK Statistics Authority, 2014a, ‘Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics: Statistics on Crime in England and Wales

UK Statistics Authority, 2014b, ‘Types of official statistics

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22 .Background notes

  1. If you have any queries regarding crime statistics for England and Wales please email crimestatistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

  2. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;
    • are well explained and readily accessible;
    • are produced according to sound methods; and
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

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Contact details for this Compendium

John Flatley
crimestatistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695