Intimate Violence against Women (and Men)

Trevor in comments on an earlier post of mine asks whether the figures I quote on violence to women are accurate. It’s a fair question as the figures I took from Women’s Aid are shocking.

So I take a look at the Home Office science and research website and find this paper which is based on an analysis of the 2004/o5 British Crime Survey.

First the good news:

Long term trends in violent crime as measured by the BCS, have shown a significant decline since their peak in 1995, in particular there have been large falls in both domestic and acquaintance violence. Between 1995 and 2004/05, domestic violence has fallen by 59 per cent and acquaintance violence has fallen by 54 per cent.

But after that there’s still a staggering set of statistics:

Among both women and men partner abuse (non-sexual) was the most commonly experienced form of intimate violence, with 28 per cent of women and 18 per cent of men having experienced one or more such incidents since the age of 16.

That’s consistent with what Women’s Aid were reporting when I last looked at this issue.  Similarly the figures about the experiences in the last year seems to be very similar to the figures that Women’s Aid use:

About one in 20 women (6%) and men (5%) had experienced one or more incidents of any partner abuse in the last year.

As always it’s important to know what is being counted and the paper defines its terms:

  • Partner abuse (non-sexual): non-sexual emotional or financial abuse, threats or physical force by a current or former partner.
  • Family abuse (non-sexual): non-sexual emotional or financial abuse, threats or physical force by a family member other than a partner. This is the first national measure of family abuse.
  • Sexual assault: indecent exposure, sexual threats and unwanted touching (‘less serious’), rape or assault by penetration including attempts (‘serious’), by any person including a partner or family member.
  • Stalking: two or more incidents – causing distress, fear or alarm – of obscene/threatening unwanted letters or phone calls, waiting or loitering around home or workplace, following or watching, or interfering with or damaging personal property by any person including a partner or family member.

For more information about what the Home Office knows about the issues and the research they’ve commissioned into effective interventions this page seems like the place to start.

About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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