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The latest domestic abuse trends
2.4 million adults experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022

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Overview

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently (25 November 2022) published its Overview of Domestic Abuse, drawing on a wide range of data including the Crime Survey for England & Wales and police recorded crime. Most of the data sources used include information up to March 2022. The headline points are:

  • The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 5.0% of adults (6.9% women and 3.0% men) aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022; this equates to an estimated 2.4 million adults (1.7 million women and 699,000 men).

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults aged 16 years and over (10.4 million) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 years.

  • There was no significant change in the prevalence of domestic abuse experienced by adults aged 16 to 59 years in the last year, compared with the year ending March 2020; a year largely unaffected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the last time the data were collected.

  • The number of police recorded domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales increased by 7.7% compared with the previous year, to 910,980 in the year ending March 2022; this follows increases seen in previous years and may reflect increased reporting by victims.

  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) domestic abuse-related charging rate in England and Wales increased for the first time in four years to 72.7% in the year ending March 2022 but remains below the year ending March 2018 (75.9%).

Domestic abuse in the last year

The infographic reproduced below shows that a higher percentage of adults experienced domestic abuse by a partner or ex-partner (3.5%) than by a family member (2.1%) in the last year. Of those who experienced partner abuse, 84.3% experienced non-physical abuse, 12.9% experienced any sexual assault and 20.8% experienced stalking.

Police recorded crime

The police recorded 1,500,369 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022. Around two in five (39.3%) of these were domestic abuse-related incidents that cover reports where, after initial investigation, the police have concluded that no notifiable crime was committed.

In the year ending March 2022 there were 589,389 domestic abuse-related incidents recorded by the police in England and Wales. This was a decrease from 613,929 in the previous year, and a return to a similar number seen before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The number of domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police increased by 7.7% to 910,980 compared with the year ending March 2021. This continues the trend of increases seen over recent years which may, in part, be driven by increased willingness of victims to come forward to report domestic abuse.

Of all crimes recorded by the police in the year ending March 2022, 17.1% were domestic abuse-related which remained similar to the year ending March 2021 (18.3%) and year ending March 2020 (15.1%).

Criminal Justice System

Among the 41 police forces that supplied data in both years, the police made 31.3 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2022, a decrease from 32.6 in the previous year.

The number of suspects of domestic abuse-related crimes referred by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision decreased from 77,812 in the year ending March 2021 to 67,063 in the year ending March 2022, mirroring the decrease in arrests. The decrease in referrals continues the trend since the year ending March 2015, as you can see from the chart below.

Charging rate

In contrast, the CPS domestic abuse-related charging rate in England and Wales increased for the first time in four years to 72.7% in the year ending March 2022, but remains below the year ending March 2018 (75.9%).

Over three-quarters (76.4%) of domestic abuse-related prosecutions were successful in securing a conviction in the year ending March 2022. This decreased to a similar proportion seen in the year ending March 2018.

 

Thanks to Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona for kind permission to use the header image in this post which was previously published on Unsplash.

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