A number of organisations have recently released figures that give an insight into the extent of domestic abuse across the UK.
According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 1.8 million adults in England and Wales aged 16 to 59 said they were a victim of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2016. Women were more likely to report having experienced domestic abuse than men.
Definition of Domestic Abuse
The ONS highlights that domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. It can include repeated patterns of abusive behaviour in order to maintain power and control in a relationship. The UK Government defines domestic abuse as:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
A large number of domestic abuse-related incidents were recorded by the police (1.03 million) in the year ending March 2016. Following investigations, the police concluded that a domestic abuse-related criminal offence was committed in 41% of these incidents (421,000).
Domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police apparently accounted for approximately one in ten of all crimes. The majority of domestic abuse (78%) consisted of violence against the person offences.
Domestic Abuse in Scotland
In Scotland, the scale of domestic abuse has been revealed through new research from Scottish Women’s Aid.
The charity found that on one day in Scotland, 66 women and 20 children reached out to their local Women’s Aid for the very first time, which equates to more than 17,000 new cases per year. According to the researchers, this is likely to be a “conservative” estimate, with the true figure potentially significantly higher.
Scottish Women’s Aid also found that on one day 366 women and 351 children and young people were living in a Women’s Aid refuge. Significantly, refuge was not available for 46% of those who sought it, due to a lack of safe and suitable accommodation, with local groups instead supporting women to access alternative arrangements including outreach work and non-specialist temporary accommodation.
The charity has published its findings to demonstrate the continued need for the advice, support, and protection that specialist domestic abuse services offer to women, children and young people.
Essential Refuge Services
“As Scotland heads into a further period of economic instability with cuts to social security and local services, the presence of a stable, robust, and properly funded Women’s Aid service is what stands between so many women and children experiencing domestic abuse and homelessness, destitution and powerlessness,” commented Marsha Scott, CEO of Scottish Women’s Aid.
“The work of local Women’s Aid groups and the specialist services they provide offer early intervention, accurate advice and advocacy, and the conviction that that women and children are not alone,” she added. “The expertise and dedication of Women’s Aid workers changes lives, and Scotland would be significantly poorer without them."
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
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