One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.
On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.
Statistics like the above are regularly quoted – but where do they come from? And how accurate are they? Available statistics on domestic violence are likely to understate the extent of abuse – but some sources are more reliable than others.
- Domestic violence – a hidden crime
- Where do domestic violence statistics come from?
- How reliable are domestic violence statistics?
- How is information collected? Asking about domestic violence
One misleading statistic, which is often repeated, is that - while one in four women experience domestic violence - so do one in six men. These figures are, however, based on single incidents, of a criminal nature, and without regard to:
- severity of violence
- whether or not it was repeated - and if so, how often
- the complex pattern of overlapping abuse of various kinds
- the context in which it took place.
They also exclude sexual assaults - which are overwhelmingly perpetrated against women, by men - many of whom are partners or former partners of the victims. Finally, emotional abuse - which is often not regarded as a crime, but which survivors often find even more destructive - is excluded from these statistics.
A more complete picture of the extent and nature of domestic violence is given in Sylvia Walby and Jonathan Allen's analysis of the self-completion module of the British Crime Survey (Walby and Allen, 2004).