1. Output information


 National Statistic  No
 Survey name  CSEW
 Data collection  A variety of survey and administrative data
 Frequency  Annually
 How compiled  From data submitted by various suppliers/charitable organisations and CSEW survey data
 Geographic coverage  England and Wales
 Related publication  Domestic abuse: findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, year ending March 2018

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2. About this Quality and Methodology Information report

This quality and methodology report contains information on the quality characteristics of the data (including the European Statistical Services five dimensions of quality) as well as the methods used to create it.

The information in this report will help you to:

  • understand the strengths and limitations of the data
  • learn about existing uses and users of the data
  • reduce the risk of misusing data
  • help you to decide suitable uses for the data
  • understand the methods used to create the data
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3. Important points

Important points about the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

  • The publication on Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 includes data covering the different stages of the criminal justice process for cases of domestic abuse and brings together a selection of data on service provision for victims of domestic abuse.

  • The publication brings together several different data sources to provide a more coherent picture of domestic abuse, but it is not possible to directly compare each of the different datasets due to differences in the timescales and reference periods used to collect the data and because they do not all count the same thing.

  • Throughout the publication, cautions are provided to make it clear where a comparison can be made and where it may be more difficult or not possible to directly compare data sources.

  • Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, the Home Office Homicide Index and the Ministry of Justice are classified as National Statistics.

  • Due to concerns over the quality and consistency of crime recording practice, police recorded crime data were assessed against the Code of Practice for Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics1. Therefore, police recorded crime and outcomes data from the Home Office are classified as official statistics.

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

Notes on: Important points

  1. The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website.
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4. Quality summary

Overview of the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

The publication on Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 has been produced in response to a recommendation made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in their 2015 progress report (PDF, 1.5MB) on the police response to domestic abuse that organisations should work together to:

“…develop a data set relating to domestic abuse which will enable more thorough analysis of how domestic abuse is dealt with in a force area.”

The aim of the publication is to bring together data on domestic abuse to enable appropriate action to be taken to improve victims’ experiences of the criminal justice process and to encourage more victims to come forward to report abuse, knowing that there is appropriate support available for them. It also provides a clearer understanding of the criminal justice system’s response to perpetrators of domestic abuse.

The statistics presented in the publication have been published as the third phase of this project, expanding on the data included in the first and second phase, which were released in December 2016 and November 2017 respectively. Additional information will continue to be added in future phases of the project to further increase the scope of the data available and create a more comprehensive resource for users.

The way in which data on domestic abuse are collected differs between sources and organisations. Data are collected over different timescales. Data can be based on offences, victims, suspects or defendants and can also vary in the way that cases are identified. These factors, together with the time lag between the stages in the criminal justice process, mean that each section in the publication does not refer to the same cohort of cases and so direct comparisons cannot be made across sections. For example, a case reported to the police in one year may not appear with an outcome after investigation until the next year, or a case with a prosecution outcome in one year may have been initially reported to the police in a previous year. Throughout the publication, cautions are provided to make it clear where a comparison can be made and where it may be more difficult or not possible to directly compare data sources.

For Crime Survey for England and Wales data and police recorded crime data, the Crime Statistics Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

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

Uses and users of the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

Data on Domestic abuse in England and Wales promotes significant interest from a range of users. These include elected national and local representatives (such as MPs, Police and Crime Commissioners and local councillors), Home Office and other government agencies, police forces, those delivering support or services to victims of crime, lobby groups, journalists, academic researchers, teachers and students.

The data can be used for a variety of purposes, including the development and monitoring of crime and justice policy, public safety campaigns, raising awareness of particular forms of crime and academic research. They also help to ensure that information on trends in domestic abuse offences in England and Wales are available to help inform the choices and decisions of the general public. Providing breakdowns of victim characteristics allow a greater depth of understanding about domestic abuse.

Table 1 shows the main user groups of domestic abuse statistics and how they use the data provided. The column on the left lists the classes of use identified by the UK Statistics Authority in their monitoring brief, The Use Made of Official Statistics (PDF, 125.6KB). The right column provides more detail on how the data fits that class of use.

Strengths and limitations of the Domestic abuse in England and Wales publication

Strengths:

  • The publication is produced annually and provides timely data to users.

  • The publication brings together data on domestic abuse in England and Wales to enable action to be taken to improve victims’ experiences of the criminal justice process and to encourage more victims to come forward to report abuse, knowing that there is appropriate support available for them.

  • The data provides a clearer understanding of the criminal justice system’s response to perpetrators of domestic abuse.

  • The domestic abuse data tool which is published alongside the report allows users to explore data for police force areas in more detail and compare these with similar areas within England and Wales.

Limitations:

  • The different datasets included in the publication do not relate to the same cases given the different timescales and reference periods used to collect the data, they also do not count the same things; for example, some record the number of victims or defendants, whilst others record the number of incidents or offences that occurred; therefore, each of the numbers cannot be directly compared.

  • Statistics on domestic abuse are produced separately by several different organisations in England and Wales; when taken in isolation, these statistics may not provide the context required by users to enable them to understand the national and local picture of domestic abuse.

  • Data relating to the criminal justice system and specialist domestic abuse services only refer to cases of domestic abuse that become visible to the police and services; cases that enter the criminal justice system may drop out at any stage of the process.

Recent improvements to the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

The statistics presented in the 2018 publication expand on those included in previous releases, through user feedback from domestic abuse organisations, police force staff and police and crime commissioners. This year, new data sources have been included that provide information on domestic abuse-related stalking and harassment, domestic violence remedy orders, and coercive and controlling behaviour. More detailed data on the services available to the victims of domestic abuse has also been provided.

Future developmental phases will continue to fill gaps in domestic abuse data by looking at new data sources to create a more comprehensive resource for users.

Notes on: Quality summary

  1. Further information on the Open The Door campaign can be found on the Cheshire Police website
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5. Quality characteristics of the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

Relevance

The aim of this publication is to bring together data from several different organisations in England and Wales on domestic abuse to enable appropriate action to be taken to improve victims’ experiences of the criminal justice process and to encourage more victims to come forward to report abuse, knowing that there is appropriate support available for them. The data also provides a clearer understanding of the criminal justice system’s response to perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Data on Domestic abuse in England and Wales receive significant interest from a range of users including elected national and local representatives (such as MPs, Police and Crime Commissioners and local councillors), Home Office and other government agencies, police forces, those delivering support or services to victims of crime, lobby groups, journalists, academic researchers, teachers and students.

The data included in the report and data tool is aimed primarily at agencies that work with domestic abuse victims such as the police and the voluntary sector, so that responses to victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse can be improved.

See the “Uses and users of the domestic abuse in England and Wales data” section for more information.

Accuracy and reliability

The publication includes data from several data sources, the majority of which are based on administrative records.

More information on the accuracy of each of the data sources is given in the “Main data sources and their accuracy” section.

For more detail on the accuracy and reliability of the data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales see the Crime in England and Wales QMI.

Coherence and comparability

The data included in the publication come from several sources and direct comparisons cannot be made between figures. This is because the different sources of data do not always relate to the same cases as often different timescales and reference periods have been used during collection. They also do not count the same things; for example, some record the number of victims or defendants, whilst others record the number of incidents or offences that occurred.

Comparisons of the same data sources over time can be made, for example, comparison of domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police. However, such data can be affected by changes in levels of reporting to the police or police recording practices. For example, comparisons of the data over time need to take account of the introduction of new legislation and changes to the Home Office Counting Rules, which will subsequently impact on the volume of cases passing through the criminal justice system.

Concepts and definitions

Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. It can include repeated patterns of abusive behaviour to maintain power and control in a relationship. The current cross-government definition1 of domestic violence and abuse recognises this and defines domestic abuse as:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling2 , coercive3 , 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”

With the exception of coercive and controlling behaviour, which was introduced as a criminal offence on 29 December 2015, other acts of domestic abuse fall under generic offence categories in police recorded crime and criminal justice data, such as assault with injury.

For detailed definitions of other terms referred to in the publication see Annex 2: Glossary of the “Domestic abuse in England and Wales, year ending March 2018” publication.

Geography

Data on domestic abuse is available at national level for England and Wales. Some datasets are also available at police force area level.

Accessibility and clarity

Our recommended format for accessible content is a combination of HTML web pages for narrative, charts and graphs, with data being provided in usable formats such as CSV and Excel. Our website also offers users the option to download the narrative in PDF format. In some instances, other software may be used, or may be available on request. Available formats for content published on our website, but not produced by us, or referenced on our website but stored elsewhere, may vary. For further information, contact Meghan Elkin via email at crimestatistics@ons.gov.uk.

For information regarding conditions of access to data:

Timeliness and punctuality

Domestic abuse in England and Wales is published on an annual basis. The data included in the publication is the latest available at the time of publishing. Information on the time period of each of the data sources included in the publication is given in Table 2.

Notes on: Quality characteristics of the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

  1. The Crown Prosecution Service applies the government definition to all victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse irrespective of age.

  2. Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

  3. Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

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6. Methods used to produce the Domestic abuse in England and Wales data

Main data sources and their accuracy

Statistics on domestic abuse are produced separately by several different organisations in England and Wales. When taken in isolation, these statistics may not provide the context required by users to enable them to understand the national and local picture of domestic abuse. This report brings together the following sources.

How we analyse and quality assure the data

Several methods are used to ensure the quality of the Crime Survey for England and Wales data collection operation by both Kantar Public, the survey contractor, and Office for National Statistics (ONS). Kantar Public has robust quality management systems in place, which are formally accredited, and endorsed and supported at a corporate level; more information can be found in the annual technical reports.

ONS also has quality management systems in place to further quality assure the data when it comes to us for final preparation and publication. Any errors identified through these checks are returned to Kantar Public for validation or correction, checks are also carried out within the team throughout the data production process before final publication.

Regarding police recorded crime, prior to submitting data to us the Home Office Police Data Collection Section (PDCS) and Home Office Statistics Unit carry out internal quality assurance of the recorded crime data. Any anomalies or errors identified through these checks result in a report being returned to the relevant force for validation or correction. Prior to publication of any crime statistics, verification checks are also carried out, asking individual forces for confirmation that the data accords with that held on their own systems. For more information, see Chapter 3 of the User guide.

All other data included in the publication are quality assured by the individual data suppliers and further checks are carried out by our team on receipt of the data. Any discrepancies are queried with the supplier for validation.

How we disseminate the data

Domestic abuse in England and Wales is published annually. The publication includes a statistical bulletin describing the main patterns and trends in the data, accompanied by data tables. A data tool is also provided to allow users to explore data for police force areas in more detail.

How we review the data

The publication on Domestic abuse in England and Wales, year ending March 2018 has been produced in response to a recommendation made by HMICFRS in their 2015 progress report on the police response to domestic abuse. It said that organisations should work together to “develop a dataset relating to domestic abuse, which will enable more thorough analysis of how domestic abuse is dealt with in a force area.”

This annual publication forms phase three of a wider project on improving domestic abuse statistics in England and Wales. User feedback has been obtained during the development of phase three through discussions with domestic abuse organisations, police force staff and police and crime commissioners. We are seeking additional feedback on phase three of the project and discussions will commence around what data should be considered for phase four, currently expected to be published in late 2019. We expect that phase four will include all the data presented in phase three updated for the latest year and will continue to fill gaps in domestic abuse data by looking at new data sources and expanding detail on data such as demographics of victims.

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