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Statistics: how common is domestic violence? 07.08.06



Did you know...

One in four women: An analysis of 10 separate domestic violence prevalence studies found consistent findings: 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year (Council of Europe, 2002).

Prevalence and administrative data based on single incidents fail to capture the pattern of violence women experience and have resulted in the numbers of female and male victims increasingly seen as almost on a par by policy makers, commissioners of services at local level, the police and other professionals who come into contact with victims. However the figures of 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing domestic violence fail to identify patterns of abuse over time and the coercive control which typifies intimate partner violence. Using these statistics to establish a picture of the prevalence of intimate partner violence is therefore not recommended.



12.9 million incidents: The British Crime Survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (that constituted non-sexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year preceding interview (Walby & Allen, 2004).



One in five counselling sessions: Nearly 1 in 5 counselling sessions held in Relate Centres in England on 28 September 2000 mentioned domestic violence as an issue in the marriage (Stanko, 2000).

One call a minute to the police:
Though only a minority of incidents of domestic violence are reported to the police , the police still receive one call about domestic violence for every minute in the UK, an estimated 1,300 calls each day or over 570,000 each year. (Stanko, 2000).  However, according to the British Crime Survey, less than 40% of domestic violence crime is reported to the police (Dodd et al, July 2004; Walby and Allen, 2004; Home Office, 2002).

Repeat victimisation is common. 44% of victims of domestic violence are involved in more than one incident.  No other type of crime has a rate of repeat victimisation as high (Dodd et al, July 2004).


Women assaulted by men they know:
The self-completeion module of the 2001 British Crime Survey research found that "women are most commonly sexually assaulted by men they know". When the researchers asked women about the last incident of rape experienced since the age of 16, they found that 45% were raped by current husbands or partners, 9% by former partners, and a further 29% of perpetrators were otherwise known to the victim. Only 17% were raped by strangers (Walby & Allen, 2004).



Assaults from partners not living together: Of women who had experienced domestic violence, 25% had never lived with the partner who had committed the worst act of violence against them. (Walby & Allen, 2004).

Of women who had experienced domestic violence, 25% had never lived with the partner who had committed the worst act of violence against them. (Walby & Allen, 2004).


Fear of being killed: In a study of 200 women's experiences of domestic violence it was found that 60% of the women had left because they feared that they or their children would be killed by the perpetrator (Humphreys & Thiara, 2002).

Homicide: On average, two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner. This constitutes nearly 40% of all female homicide victims.  (Povey, (ed.), 2005; Home Office, 1999; Department of Health, 2005.) 

View a summary of the number of women and children who use a domestic violence service on a typical day in England.