Published: 17 February 2015
The Office for National Statistics have published new figures which show that over 2 million domestic abuse incidents occurred last year.
The statistics for violent and sexual offences in England and Wales are published every year, with this years' figures showing that 1.4 million women and 700,000 men reported an incident of domestic abuse.
The figures do however show a positive trend and a declining number of incidents over the past 20 years. Incidents of violence were at an all time high of 3.8 million in 1995 and has been falling every year, with around 1.3 million incidents recorded in 2013/14. The number of murders, gun and knife crime is also at an all-time low since 1989 and continues to fall each year.
Despite falling numbers in most areas, the figures for alcohol-fuelled crime has remained roughly the same over the past 10 years at 53% and accounts for two thirds of violent incidents between strangers.
Whilst the figures highlight a positive trend in falling crime rates, domestic violence still remains a serious issue, with more than 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men in England and Wales experiencing incidents of domestic violence each year. 28% of all women in England and Wales, which accounts for 4.9 million women, and 15% (2.4 million) of men have suffered some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16.
The most common types of domestic violence incidents involving women were non-sexual partner abuse, stalking and sexual assault. For men, the most common types are stalking and non-sexual partner abuse.
The figures released by the Office for National Statistics highlighted a link between household income and domestic abuse, with households living in poverty being three times more likely to experience an incident of domestic abuse as opposed to those households with a higher annual income.
One area for concern highlighted by the report is the number of people who still don't report incidents of domestic abuse to the police, especially in sexual assault victims. Only 17% of people who experienced sexual assault said they reported the incident to the police. This saw an increase of 4% from the previous year and 2% from the year before that, but 17% of victims still isn't enough - it means that 5 out of 6 people still suffer in silence.
Victims say the main reason for not reporting incidents to the police is because they are too embarrassed and they don't wish to face further humiliation - others believe that the police just won't help. Whilst the number of sexual incidents being reported to the police has seen an increase year on year, the public perception and attitudes towards to sexual assault hasn't seen any significant change.
The survey said that 26% of people still think that the victim is in some way responsible for their sexual attack if they were drunk at the time the incident occurred. 33% think that the victim is responsible if they were flirting with their attacker before the incident took place. These percentages have remained consistent in recent years and hasn't changed despite the ever changing nature of our society and what is deemed to be social acceptable.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic abuse then K J Smith Solicitors can help. Our team of family law specialists are trained to deal incidents ranging from the simple to the highly complicated and team will listen and advise on the best course of action to keep you and your family safe from domestic abuse.
For more information or to arrange a free consultation with a member of our team, please contact K J Smith Solicitors today on 01491 630000 (Henley-on-Thames), 020 7070 0330 (Central London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor) or 01256 584000 (Basingstoke).