1. Main points

  • Females were victims in 52% of violence against the person offences recorded by the police in the year ending March 2015, with 48% of victims being male. Half of violence against the person offences against female victims (50%) were domestic abuse-related; in contrast for males only 16% of violence was domestic abuse-related.

  • The proportion of police recorded violence against the person offences was highest among younger age groups and declined with age. For example, 16% of victims were aged 20 to 24, while this age group comprised just 7% of the population. Those aged 90 or over experienced less than 1% of violence against the person offences.

  • Females made up the large majority of victims of rape and other sexual offences (89% and 83% respectively of victims were women or girls).

  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of female victims of rape offences and over three-quarters (78%) of female victims of other sexual offences recorded by the police were aged under 30. Male victims of rape and other sexual offences were even more likely to be aged under 30 (88% and 84% respectively).

  • Around 1 in 5 (19%) police recorded violence against the person offences were identified as alcohol-related in the year ending March 2015.

  • Within violence against the person, the offence of assault without injury on a constable had the highest proportion of offences that were alcohol-related (36% of offences recorded by the police).

  • A greater number of police recorded alcohol-related violent offences took place in the evening, especially on Friday and Saturday, compared with non alcohol-related violence which occurs more uniformly throughout the day.

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2. Summary

These experimental statistics present new data on violent and sexual offences recorded by the police in the year ending March 2015, broken down by age of the victim at the time the offence took place and sex of the victim. It also includes new information on the involvement of alcohol as a factor in violence and sexual offences and analysis of the date and time of when such crimes took place. These analyses are based on a sub-set of forces that were able to supply such detailed data to the Home Office Data Hub and are published as experimental statistics in advance of all forces being able to do so.

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3. Introduction

Police recorded crime figures are notifiable offences that have been reported to and recorded by the 44 police forces in England and Wales (including British Transport Police). The police recorded crime collection has traditionally been based on the submission of aggregate returns from forces at the offence level. The Home Office has been working with forces to extract more detailed record level data from force crime recording systems. The Home Office Data Hub collects such record level crime data from the police, which allows for a wider range of analyses to be carried out than previously. The Home Office are continuing to develop and implement this system across all 44 police forces in England and Wales.

We present a first cut of selected information, from a sub-set of forces, on violent and sexual offences as experimental statistics in order to demonstrate to users the range of analyses possible in future and to seek feedback to inform the future presentation of crime statistics. It should be noted that this analysis may not be representative of all forces in England and Wales and data have not been reconciled with forces and are therefore subject to revision.

Data for age and sex of victims of violent and sexual offences in the year ending March 2015 are taken from 13 police forces who supplied data of sufficient quality1 for all fields for the analysis in this section. Additional analysis provided on the involvement of alcohol as a factor in violence against the person and sexual offences recorded by the police, in the year ending March 2015, are taken from 27 police forces. The Data Hub also has the ability to capture the date and time of when a crime took place. Analysis of this information using 21 forces that provided violence against the person and sexual offences recorded by the police in the year ending March 2015 that were identified as ‘alcohol-related’ is provided. This is the first year these data have been published and the Home Office will be working with police forces to ensure the consistency and comparability of their victim information.

Notes for introduction

  1. Sufficient data quality deemed when a high proportion of violent and sexual offences recorded by the police force included the necessary information such as date of birth, event start date and sex, and potentially flagged as alcohol-related where appropriate in order to carry out the analysis.
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4. Violent offences by age and sex of the victim

In the year ending March 2015, the victim was female in 52% of violence against the person offences recorded by the police and male in 48% of offences. This differs from the CSEW, which estimated that the majority of victims (61%) were male, with 39% being female (data not shown). Between April to September 2015, half of violent offences for female victims were domestic abuse-related (50%), while in contrast, 16% of violent offences for male victims were domestic abuse-related (see ‘Experimental Statistics: Domestic Abuse Offences Recorded by the Police’ for more information). It is known that the face-to-face interview of the CSEW underestimates the number of domestic violence incidents (see the ‘Intimate Personal Violence and Partner Abuse’ chapter of this release for more information1). As the CSEW headline measures underestimate domestic violence and the majority of domestic violence victims are female, this is likely to be the reason for the lower proportion of female victims in the CSEW compared with police recorded crime.

Analysis of reporting rates of violence by sex show that this is not a large factor in the difference between the sources. In the year ending March 2015 CSEW, women reported 51% of violent incidents to the police, a slightly higher proportion than men (48%).

Violence against the person offences can be separated into those offences which resulted in an injury and those where no injury was suffered by the victim (Figure 5.1). Females made up a large share of victims of police recorded violence without injury (59% compared with 41% male victims). The reverse was true for violence with injury (54% of victims were male and 46% female).

Figures for homicide by sex of victim are also shown in Figure 5.1. These figures are taken from the Homicide Index and refer to all police forces in England and Wales as well as the British Transport Police. In the year ending March 2015, 64% of homicide victims were male and 36% were female. More information on homicide offences can be found in the Homicide chapter of this release.

Information is also available on the age of victims of police recorded crimes. These figures show that younger adults were more likely to be victims of violent crime. For example, while those aged 20 to 24 made up around 7% of the population2, they were victims in 16% of violence against the person offences. Within this age group, 56% of victims were female and 44% were male (Figure 5.2). Similarly, victims aged 15 to 19 (12% of all violent offences, 6% of the population) and victims aged 25 to 29 (14% of all violent offences, 6% of the population) were also more likely to be victims of violence against the person offences recorded by the police compared with their population profile.

Notes for violent offences by age and sex of the victim

  1. The prevalence of domestic abuse reported in the self-completion module is far higher than the prevalence of domestic violence reported in the face-to-face interview. This is likely to be due to the increased reporting of sensitive issues on account of the greater confidentiality provided by self-completion methods.

  2. Population figures based on the 13 forces used for this analysis.

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5. Sexual offences by age and sex of the victim

Data from all forces showed that a large majority of victims of rape offences (90%) were female in the year ending March 2015 (Appendix Table A4 (1.59 Mb Excel sheet) , Crime in England and Wales, year ending March 2015). Figures for the selected forces from the Home Office Data Hub data show a similar proportion (89%).

There were also differences in the age profile of rape victims. Victims were most likely to be aged 15 to 19 years, accounting for nearly a quarter (23%) of rape offences recorded by the police, although this age group only made up around 6% of the population (Figure 5.3). This was followed by victims aged 10 to 14 years (16% of rapes, 5% of the population) and victims aged 20 to 24 years (14% of rape offences, 7% of the population).

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of female rape victims were aged under 30, while females in this age group comprise 35% of the population. Male victims of rape offences were even more likely to be aged under 30 (88% of rape offences; 38% of the population). Children aged under 16 also account for a large proportion of rape offences recorded by the police. Just under a third (30%) of female rape victims were aged under 16, with the majority (60%) of male rape victims being aged under 16. In all age groups, women were far more likely to be victims of rape recorded by the police than men.

Police recorded sexual offences are broken down into rape offences and other sexual offences (which includes offences such as sexual assaults, grooming, sexual exploitation etc.). Victims of other sexual offences are again far more likely to be female, with 83% of such offences committed against female victims and 17% of offences against males. The distribution of victims across sex and age groups for other sexual offences is similar to the distribution for rape offences (Figure 5.4).

While rape victims were most likely to be in the 15 to 19 year age group, victims of other sexual offences were slightly younger, with both males and females more likely to be aged 10 to 14 years than any other age group. In the year ending March 2015, 28% of victims of other sexual offences recorded by the police were aged 10 to 14 years, but this age group accounted for only 5% of the population. In this age group, females were victims in 83% of other sexual offences with 17% of victims being male. Just under half (47%) of these offences against 10 to 14 year olds were for sexual activity involving a child, with a further 41% for sexual assaults.

Over three-quarters (78%) of female victims of other sexual offences recorded by the police were aged under 30, while females in this age group comprised 35% of the population. Male victims of other sexual offences were even more likely to be aged under 30 (84% of offences; 38% of the population). Children aged under 16 also accounted for a large proportion of other sexual offences recorded by the police. Half (50%) of female victims and the majority (62%) of male victims were aged under 16. In all age groups, women were far more likely to be victims of other sexual offences recorded by the police than men.

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7 .Background notes

  1. 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
    • 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