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Three woman who lost their lives to domestic violence: (L-R) Maria Stubbings, Rachael Slack, Cassandra Hasanovic

The facts

One woman in four experiences domestic violence in her lifetime

Office for National Statistics (2016) Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2014/15

Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales

Office for National Statistics (2016) Compendium – Homicide (average taken over 10 years) 

In the year ending March 2016, 1.2 million women reported experiences of domestic abuse in England and Wales

Office for National Statistics (2016) Domestic Abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2016

Whilst this number is shocking, 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 research by Professor Sylvia Walby, we know that were the cap to be removed, the number of incidents of domestic violence would increase by approximately 70%.

It is estimated that around three women a week commit suicide as a result of domestic violence

Professor Sylvia Walby (2004) The Cost of Domestic Violence

Women who experience domestic violence are twice as likely to experience depression

World Health Organization, Violence against Women: Health Impact

40% of homeless women state domestic violence as a contributor in their homelessness

Shelter (2000), Homelessness: what’s gender got to do with it? 

20% of children in the UK have lived with an adult perpetrating domestic violence

NSPCC (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today; Research into the prevalence of child maltreatment in the United Kingdom

62% of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed

SafeLives (2015) Getting it right the first time

An estimated 39,000 babies under one year of age live with domestic violence in the UK

NSPCC (2011) Estimates of the number of infants (under the age of one year) living with substance misusing parents

Between 2005 and 2015, 19 children in 12 families were killed by violent fathers who had been allowed to see them through formal and informal child contact arrangements

Women’s Aid (2016) 19 Child Homicides

Domestic violence gets worse during pregnancy: it is estimated that four to nine in every 100 pregnant women are abused during their pregnancy or soon after the birth

Angela Taft (2002)

20% of women in Refuge’s services are pregnant or have recently given birth

Refuge Performance Report, 2017-18

One in two young women have experienced controlling behaviour in an intimate relationship

  • A third of young people said that how a controlling partner had treated them prevented them living their life
  • 1 in 3 say they find it difficult to define the line between a caring action and a controlling one
  • Over a third (37%) would not know where or who to turn to for support if they were experiencing the issue

Refuge and Avon’s ‘Define the Line’ study (2017)

41% of UK girls aged 14 to 17 in an intimate relationship experienced some form of sexual violence from their partner

University of Central Lancashire (2015) Written submission from the Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm 

59% of girls aged 13-21 reported in 2014 some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year

Girl Guiding’s Social Attitudes Survey (2014)

41% of men aged 18–24 say a woman is totally or partly to blame for her sexual assault if she goes out late at night, wears a short skirt and gets drunk

The Fawcett Society (2017), Sounds Familiar? 

In 2013-15, four times more women than men were killed by their partner/ex-partner

Office for National Statistics (2016) Compendium – Homicide (average taken over 10 years) 

Women experience domestic violence with much more intensity – 89% of people who experience four or more incidents of domestic violence are women

Walby and Allen (2004) Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey

Despite the fact that women are three times more likely to be arrested for incidents of abuse, Crown Prosecution Service data shows that 93% of defendants in domestic abuse court cases are male, and 84% of victims are female

Professor Marianne Hester (2009) Who Does What to Whom? Gender and Domestic Violence Perpetrators and Crown Prosecution Service, Violence against Women and Girls Crime Report, 2014–2015

It is estimated that domestic violence costs the UK almost £23 billion a year

Professor Sylvia Walby (2004) The Cost of Domestic Violence (total cost of domestic violence to the state, employers and victims – including the human and emotional cost)

Refuge saves the health service and criminal justice system £5.9 million a year (across just 5,000 client cases)

NEF Consulting (June 2016), Refuge: A Social Return on Investment Evaluation 

For every £1 invested in Refuge’s services, there is a return on investment for clients, their families and society at large equivalent to £4.94 in social value

NEF Consulting (June 2016), Refuge: A Social Return on Investment Evaluation 

85% of those experiencing domestic violence sought help from professionals an average of five times before they received effective help to stop the abuse

SafeLives (2015) Getting it right the first time: Executive Summary

Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime – in 2010/11, 73% of all incidents were experienced by repeat victims

Home Office (2011) Crime in England and Wales 2010/11: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime 

The police receive a domestic violence-related call every 30 seconds; yet it is estimated that less than 24% of domestic violence crime is reported to the police

HMIC (2014) Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse and Walby and Allen (2004)

The overwhelming majority of domestic abuse cases are not prosecuted; fewer than 10% of incidents reported to police will end in conviction

In the year ending March 2016 there were 1.03 million domestic abuse-related incidents reported to police, of which 421,000 were deemed by police to be domestic abuse-related criminal offences. Yet there were only 100,930 prosecutions and 75,235 convictions.

Office for National Statistics (2016) Domestic Abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2016

Refuge has experienced cuts to 80% of its services since 2011, with some funding being cut by up to 50%


Since 2010, this country has lost 17% of its specialist domestic violence refuges

Women’s Aid (2014)