Women’s Aid responds to ONS’s Domestic Abuse report: year ending March 2018
Thursday 22nd November 2018
Today, the ONS has released two reports Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 and Domestic abuse: findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales year ending March 2018.
Key findings include:
- An estimated 1.3 million female victims in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2018.
- From April 2014 to March 2017, 239 women were killed by a partner or ex-partner. All but one of the suspects were male.
- There were a total of 1,198,094 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in the year ending March 2018
- The police made 225,714 arrests for domestic abuse-related offences (in the 39 police forces that could supply adequate data). This equates to 38 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes recorded.
- There was a significant decrease in the proportion of female victims of partner abuse reporting to the police in year ending March 2018 compared with the year ending March 2015, the last time this was asked about in the survey.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“Domestic abuse is an epidemic that has affected, as today’s ONS’s report shows, an estimated 1.3 million women last year alone and continues to cost the lives of on average two women a week in England and Wales. While the police have made progress in how they respond to domestic abuse, recording a record number of domestic abuse-related offences in the last year, it is shocking that the police are only making 38 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes recorded. This is a major concern. We know from our work with survivors that it often takes a woman a lot of courage to report domestic abuse to the police and it is rarely the first incident of domestic abuse that she has experienced. This failure by the police to consistently protect survivors is a major concern and is likely to damage the survivor’s trust in the police.
“Today’s report highlights that there has been a significant decrease in the proportion of female domestic abuse victims reporting to the police over the last three years. In these cases, domestic abuse services are often being left to pick up the pieces. Yet in recent years, they have been faced with a funding crisis which has meant that some services have been forced to close or reduce their support provision. These life-saving services are not an optional extra but an essential piece of the jigsaw in our response to domestic abuse. They not only provide survivors and their children with the life-transforming support they need to escape abuse and rebuild their lives, but they are also often the key to survivors having the confidence to report the abuse to the police and support a prosecution.
“By improving the police response to domestic abuse and ensuring life-saving domestic abuse services are properly resourced, we know that we can transform the response to domestic abuse, ensuring perpetrators are held to account and survivors are supported and protected. We urge police leaders to make re-building survivors’ trust in the police a priority. For many years, HMICFRS has put a focus on improving the police response to domestic abuse and we welcome their ongoing commitment to work in this area. A first step towards achieving this is ensuring that all police staff, from call handlers to frontline officers, receive robust and ongoing domestic abuse training, co-delivered by specialists like Women’s Aid, to improve their response and the support they provide to women who are experiencing domestic abuse. We also call for the protection of the life-transforming support work that domestic abuse services provide to survivors and their children – whether they need to flee to a refuge or need support to stay in their own homes safely. We want to continue to work with the government to deliver sustainable funding for all domestic abuse services with national oversight in its forthcoming domestic abuse bill to ensure that every survivor and her child can access the support they need to escape domestic abuse and rebuild their lives free from fear and abuse.”
If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]