DA crime rises by quarter
Domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales went up 24.5% to 746,219 in the year to last March, compared with the previous 12 months, according to police data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
As there is no specific crime of domestic abuse or violence, the figures refer to behaviour connected to domestic discord which the police record as a crime.
In commentary on the rising trend, the ONS said: “Some of this increase may be, in part, driven by general police improvements in offence-recording practices, as well as an increase in domestic abuse-related incidents coming to the attention of the police.
“The increase could also indicate an increased willingness of victims to come forward to report domestic abuse. This reasoning is supported by the contrasting findings in the Crime Survey of no change in victim numbers.”
The survey indicates around 2.4 million adults experienced some form of domestic abuse in the 12 months to March, the same amount as in the previous year.
Constabularies also recorded 17,616 offences of coercive control in the year ending March 2019, almost double the 9,053 in the previous 12 months.
“Such increases are common for new offences and the rise could be attributed to improvements in recognising incidents of coercive control by the police and using the new law accordingly,” the ONS said. Coercive control became a criminal offence in 2015.
The ONS cautioned the figures understate the true extent of domestic abuse-related crime. “Domestic abuse is often a hidden crime that is not reported to the police. Therefore, data held by the police can only provide a partial picture of the actual level of domestic abuse experienced. Many cases will not enter the criminal justice process as they are not reported to the police,” it said.