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‘A national travesty’: Domestic abuse rises 24% as number of cases passed for charge falls 11%

Domestic abuse has risen by 24 per cent in a year while referrals of cases from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service fell by 11 per cent. New figures show police recorded an average of one incident of domestic abuse per minute in the year ending March 2019. Some 746,219 domestic abuse-related crimes were recorded in total – a rise of almost a quarter on the previous year.

A charity working with victims of domestic abuse described the rising trends as a “national travesty”. The data, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed referrals of suspects from domestic abuse-flagged cases to the CPS for a charging decision fell 11 per cent from 110,653 to 98,470 from the previous year.

An estimated 1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2019, according to the new figures. The number of recorded coercive control offences were found to have nearly doubled within the past year.

The law changed in 2015 to recognise psychological manipulation, or coercive control, as a form of domestic abuse. Some 9,053 offences were recorded in the year ending March 2018, but had climbed to 17,616 by March this year.

Sarika Seshadri, of lead domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid argued the new data does not capture the scale of the problem, because victims do not always come forward. The head of research at the charity said domestic abuse was a “critical issue” for wider society – saying it causes “suffering, fear and long-term damage” to relationships, families and communities, as well as costing the economy a “staggering” £66bn a year.

Adina Claire, acting co-chief executive of Women’s Aid, said it had reached “epidemic levels”. The latest figures, which use data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, found 84 per cent of all victims killed by a partner or former partner are female. The suspect was male in all but two cases.

Sandra Horley, of Refuge, the largest provider of specialist domestic violence services in the UK, said:

“These statistics should serve as a serious wake-up call to the future government that domestic abuse is a major crime in this country and must be top of the political agenda. 
It is clear that the likelihood of women and girls experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their lives is increasing. This is devastating news given this time last year we knew one in four women would experience domestic abuse – this figure is edging towards one in three. Alarmingly, incidents of domestic sexual assault are also increasing. This rise is set against a backdrop of lower conviction rates. These statistics are a national travesty.”

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Source: The Independant 26th November 2019