Decline in domestic abuse levelling out
17 February 2015 by Andrea Godfrey
Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that figures for domestic abuse have been relatively stable over the last five years, suggesting the decline in domestic abuse between 2004/5 and 2008/9 has levelled out. Whilst it is positive that figures are not increasing it is also rather concerning that the figures have not fallen further in light of repeated Police and Home Office campaigns.
According to the data, an estimated 1.4 million women and 700,000 men have suffered domestic abuse in the last year. The ONS also found that in those aged 16 – 59, 28% of women and nearly 15% of men had experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16.
The data also shows a link between poverty and domestic abuse. Women living in the poorest households appear to be more than three times as likely to become victims of domestic abuse compared with those in higher income families.
Compared with the violent crime figures for the UK, that have been steadily falling for some time now, domestic abuse remains a widespread problem which affects more than 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men annually. Under-reporting of domestic abuse means that we will never know the exact number of victims and the full extent of the problem.
This is even more concerning when considered in light of a separate study released on Thursday 12th January. The statistics from the study were compiled using Freedom of Information requests and NHS figures. They were based on 694 women killed by men between 2009 and 2013 and found that 46% of those killed died at the hands of either a current or former partner.
Last Friday, domestic violence charity Refuge published a list of names to commemorate the lives of women killed in the context of domestic violence from 2010 to 2013, as part of their #KnowHerName campaign. The charity also called for a public inquiry into police and state response to domestic violence.
Sandra Horley CBE, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner and too often opportunities to protect them – to prevent their deaths – are missed.”
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