Number of domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales rose by 6%, ONS says

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report is the first of it's kind and includes testimonials from victims of abuse.

Figures have revealed the number of domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales rose by 6% in the year ending March 2021. The report which collates data from a range of different organisations found that a total of 845,734 domestic abuse-related crimes were recorded by police. It also found that police made 33 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes and there was a 22% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline in England. It reported that 7% of women aged 16-74 (which equates to 1.6 million women) suffered domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020. In the same time frame, police recorded crime data unveiled that almost half (46%) of adult female homicide victims in England and Wales were killed in a domestic homicide. It also found that 3% of women aged 16-74 experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, and 5% experienced stalking.

The report found women's experiences intensified during the National COVID-19 lockdowns. Meghan Elkin, joint head of the ONS Centre and Justice said "Our research finds that the effects of these crimes on women and girls is significant and often long-lasting. It is a problem which is regrettably not going away". She went on to say "Our evidence suggests that experiences of domestic abuse may have intensified during periods of national lockdowns as victims faced difficulties in safely seeking support under these conditions"

So what's the plan to tackle domestic abuse?

Following years of campaigning by policy makers and practitioners, the government published the draft Domestic Abuse Bill and the proposals have welcomed by many. The bill broadens the definition of domestic abuse to include economic abuse and non-physical abuse which provides a better of the full nature of issues that survivors face.

The appointment of Nicole Jacobs, Designated Domestic Abuse Commissioner is another positive move towards encouraging a better cross-sector response to domestic abuse issues. Improving collaborations between health services and the police as well as victims services is vital if the provisions offered for survivors and families, as well as perpetrators are to be improved.

Additionally, on the 3rd March 2020, the government introduced an enhanced Domestic Abuse Bill to the House of Commons for it's first reading. Changes included in this enhanced version are as follows:

  • A requirement for county councils and unitary authorities (an administrative division of local government established in place of or as an alternative to a two-tier system of local councils) in England to provide effective support for victims of Domestic Abuse and their children.
  • A requirement for county councils and unitary authorities in England to ensure that Domestic Abuse victims and their children are provided with safe accommodation.
  • Abusers are banned from all family court proceedings
  • The government will pay any court costs for police applying for the previously announced Domestic Abuse Protection Order and Protection Notices

Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins, said "Too many people have to live in fear of abuse - whether it be physical, emotional, or economical - from those who should make them feel safe and loved" She went on to say "This bill will provide support to the victims and survivors of this horrendous crime so that they can go someway to feeling safe again"

We have come along way since 2004 when domestic violence was made illegal in the U.K, but we have an even longer way to go to end domestic abuse. It can no longer be the case that families are choosing between abuse, or poverty and homelessness.

For advice and support with any of the above topics, please visit the NHS support page

You can also visit Respect U.K for advice for domestic abuse perpetrators, male victims of domestic abuse and young people

To see our available roles within the Domestic Violence sector, click here. Cant find what you're looking for? Call a dedicated member of our domestic violence team on 01473 939683 for more information.

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