Latest ONS domestic violence statistics – Refuge responds


On February 11 2016, the ONS released their latest statistics on domestic violence and domestic homicide. Responding to the figures, Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:

“The latest statistics from the ONS paint a bleak picture of violence against women.

“In the 12 months up to March 2015, 81 women were killed by a partner or ex-partner. This is a national disgrace. If 81 people were killed in a terrorist attack there would be universal outcry and the government would act. Who is going to act for these women?

“Instead we are seeing the domestic violence sector decimated by funding cuts. Since 2011, we have experienced funding reduction across 80% of our service contracts. Some of our services have had their funding cut by 50% – and there are a number of local authorities that now provide absolutely no refuge provision at all. 76% of domestic homicides occur during separation or up to six months afterwards. Without a properly funded network of refuges, women fleeing domestic violence are at serious risk of becoming another ONS statistic.

“These crime figures are about violence, but they are also about gender. The number of women killed by their partner or ex-partner is more than four times that of men killed in this way. 97% of female domestic homicide victims were killed by a male suspect, as were the majority (around two thirds) of male domestic homicide victims.

“When it comes to domestic violence, women are being killed much more frequently than men and they are being killed by men, almost without exception.

“The data also shows that an estimated 4.5 million women have experienced some form domestic abuse since the age of 16. This number is unacceptable, but we also know it is grossly underestimated. The cap on the number of violent crimes published, set at five per victim, means that even if a woman experienced 100 incidents of domestic violence, only five would make it into the official data. Thanks to Professor Sylvia Walby’s research, we know that were the cap to be removed, the number of incidents of domestic violence would increase by 70%.

“Something needs to change. This is why Refuge is calling for a public inquiry into the response of state agencies when it comes to domestic violence. An inquiry would look at the national picture, connecting the dots between a domestic homicide in Derbyshire with another in Devon, and identifying systematic failures across the country. It will examine not just the response of the police but also other state agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service, health and Social Services and investigate why they are all failing to protect women and children experiencing domestic violence on a catastrophic scale. Only then will we begin to see the number of women killed every year reduce. Please sign our petition today to demand change.”

The ONS statistics on domestic homicides for 2014/15 can be found here. 
The ONS statistics on domestic violence for 2014/15 can be found here.