Busting the Domestic Abuse Myths #1: 89% of people who suffer four or more incidents of domestic abuse are women.

A very familiar statistic and one used by the two leading charities (Women’s Aid and Refuge) is that 89% of people who suffer four or more incidents of domestic abuse are women.

This has been mutated away from the original British Crime Survey research by Walby and Allen in 2004 who said “Among people subject to four or more incidents of domestic violence from the perpetrator of the worst incident (since age 16) 89 per cent were women”. (British Crime Survey, Walby & Allen, 2004)” This is different to all incidents.

So what are the facts?

 

The latest British Crime Survey looks at Partner Abuse and produces this table:

 

Appendix table 4.12:  Number of times victims of partner abuse had been abused by partner(s) in the last year, 2012/13 CSEW1
 
England and Wales Adults aged 16 to 59
Men Women All
Percentage
     
Once 22 19 20
More than once 27 30 29
Twice 6 9 8
Three to five times 13 8 10
Between six and 20 times 4 8 7
Between 21 and 49 times 1 2 2
More than 50 times/Too many times to count 3 3 3
Don’t know 19 11 14
Don’t wish to answer 32 39 37
Unweighted base                  280                  772               1,052
  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
 

 

The same survey estimates that in 2012/13 the gender split for partner abuse in numbers was:

  Men Women
Partner Abuse 517,000 845,000
Partner Abuse – non sexual 460,000 652,000

 

Therefore, taking more than five incidents as the benchmark (i.e. 6 or more as the benchmark), as the four or more incidents used in the Walby and Allen research is not available, means that

(i) – Partner Abuse

  • Men: 8% of 517,000 = 41,360 (28%)
  • Women: 13% of 845,000 = 109,850 (72%)

 

(ii) Partner Abuse – non-sexual

  • Men: 8% of 460,000 = 36,800 (30%)
  • Women: 13% of 652,000 = 84,760 (70%)

The conclusion is that of those

  • who suffered more than five incidents of partner abuse in the last year, government’s figures show 30% were men and 70% were women.
  • of men who suffered partner abuse last year, one in 12 (8%) suffered more than 5 times as did one in six women (13%).
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