Domestic abuse : the Office for National Statistics – year ending March 2019 blog

30 / 04 / 2020

On 25 November 2019, the Office for National Statistics (which is an independent producer of official statistics) published its report in relation to the prevalence of domestic abuse and trends in England and Wales for the year ending March 2019.

The information was based on the Crime Survey for England and Wales (one of the largest social research surveys conducted in England and Wales), as well as incidents/crimes reported to the police.

For the latter, it is important to note that due to the very nature of domestic abuse, not all of the incidents/crimes that take place are reported.

The report is therefore also, as explained above, based on information produced by The Crime Survey for England and Wales, which involves individuals being contacted and the respondents providing details about their experience of crime and therefore consequent estimates of the prevalence of certain types of crime being produced.

By surveying people it is hoped that truer figures may be obtained, as that information is not reliant upon police reports being made  by the victim (no doubt however it will still not be fully reflective).

The types of domestic abuse included in the report referred to above comprised physical force, emotional or financial abuse, threats to hurt the individual or someone close to them, as well as sexual abuse and stalking, and the data includes not only abuse carried out by partners or former partners, but also by other family members.

In summary, some of the main findings set out in the report were that:

  1. from the survey answers, there was no significant change in the prevalence of domestic abuse, compared to the previous year (year ending March 2018);
  2. there however was an increase of 24% of domestic abuse – related crimes reported to the police (746,129); and
  3. there was also a further 570,581 domestic abuse-related incidents reported to the police.

As the survey answers demonstrated that the prevalence of experience of domestic abuse related-incidents/crimes did not appear to have increased significantly compared to the previous year, but that the police figures in that respect were in fact higher than the previous year, it is thought that “the increase in police recorded crime may reflect improved recording by the police and increased reporting by victims”.

This can only be a  good thing.