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Topic: Statistics


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.

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).