1 in 5 adults experience domestic abuse in their lifetime

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’), show no decrease in the prevalence of domestic abuse in England and Wales, compared to the previous year.

The statistics are based on findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales for the year ending March 2023, and police recorded crime.

The Crime Survey estimated that 4.4% of people aged 16 years and over (2.1 million) experienced domestic abuse in the year.

An estimated 1.4 million women and 751,000 men aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the year; a prevalence rate of approximately 5.7% of women and 3.2% of men.

The figures also give an indication of how many people experience domestic abuse in their adult life. The crime survey showed that an estimated 9.8 million people aged 16 years and over had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 years. This equates to a shocking prevalence rate of approximately one in five people aged 16 years and over.

The police recorded 1,453,867 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes in England and Wales (excluding Devon and Cornwall) in the year ending March 2023; 889,918 of these were recorded as domestic abuse-related crimes. The number of domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by police remained similar compared with the previous year.

Most of the offences related to incidents of violence, but as we know domestic abuse also includes non-violent controlling and coercive behaviour.

There were 43,774 offences of coercive control recorded by the police in England and Wales (excluding Devon and Cornwall) in the year ending March 2023. This is compared with 41,039 in the year ending March 2022. The ONS say that the rise in coercive control offences over recent years may be attributed to improvements made by the police in recognising incidents of coercive control.

The statistics also give an indication of the age characteristics of victims of domestic abuse. The Crime Survey showed that a significantly higher proportion of people aged 16 to 19 years were victims of any domestic abuse (8.0%) compared with those aged 45 to 54 years (4.2%), and those aged 60 years and over (3.2% for 60 to 74 years). For those aged 75 years and over, the percentage of victims was significantly lower than all other age groups (1.4%).

Whilst factors such as age mean that the likelihood of being a victim of domestic abuse may differ, overall the statistics confirm what we already knew: that anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse.

If you are a victim it is essential that you seek expert legal advice, at the earliest possible stage. We can find you an expert that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.

You can find the latest ONS statistical bulletin here.

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