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).
Did you know:
- 4.6 million women in England and Wales have experienced domestic abuse1
- One in seven children and young people under the age of 18 will have experienced living with domestic violence2
- In England and Wales two women on average are killed each week by their partner or ex-partner3
- The most dangerous time for a woman is when she is trying to escape from her abuser4
1 Office for National Statistics (ONS), (February 2015) Chapter 4: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences - Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assualt
2 Radford, L; Aitken,, R; Miller, P; Ellis, J; Robert, J & Firkic, A, (2011) Meeting the needs of children living with domestic violence in London Research report Refuge/NSPCC research project Funded by the City Bridge Trust, p.9
3 Office for National Statistics (ONS), (2015), citing the Homicide index from the Home Office, Figure 2.5
This is calculated by adding up the number of female homicide victims (killed by their partner or ex-partner) over the last ten years  and dividing by the number of weeks in 10 years .
914/520 = 1.75769231 - rounded up to 2
4 Monckton Smith, J & Williams, A with Mullane, F, (2014), Domestic Abuse, Homicide and Gender. Suggestions for Policy and Practice. Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan
Richards, L (2003) Findings from the Multi-agency Domestic Violence Murder Reviews in London Prepared for the ACPO Homicide Working Group 26th August 2003 Published by the Metropolitan Police