It is a sad fact that domestic violence still occurs in the United Kingdom. Thousands of families across the country are affected by domestic violence every single day. If these facts were more widely known, more people may be empowered to take action against this kind of abuse, or to end their own abusive relationship.

General Statistics about Domestic Violence in the United Kingdom

According to survey data, around 8 out of 10 people who have experienced domestic violence are women, and around 2 out of 10 are men. The number of men who report experiencing domestic violence has slowly begun to increase in recent years, as awareness increases that men can suffer domestic violence too. However, it is unlikely that there will ever be a 50/50 balance.

In 2015, around 2 women per week were killed by a current or former partner in England or Wales. This equates to 1 woman being killed every three days. These cases rarely make the national news, unless the death occurred in particularly unusual circumstances.

Globally, around 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime at the hands of a male partner. Some male-dominated societies worldwide still believe that it is OK for a man to physically “punish” his wife if he feels that she has done something that he believes to be wrong. Despite the fact that the law says that this cannot be tolerated in the United Kingdom, crime statistics still suggest that 1 in 4 women in the UK will experience violence at the hands of a male partner during their lifetime. Around 1 in 12 will experience domestic violence in any given year.

Although only about 35% of domestic violence incidents are actually reported to the police, the police still receive 1 domestic violence call every minute on average. On average, a woman who is experiencing domestic violence will only make her first call to the police after she has been assaulted 35 times.

Children and Domestic Violence

In around 90% of cases where domestic violence has occurred in a family household, a child or children have been in the same room or the next room. 20% of all children currently growing up in the United Kingdom are likely to be exposed to domestic violence at some point during their childhood. Around 62% of those who are growing up in an environment where domestic violence is occurring will also be directly harmed by the abuser.

The Department of Health estimates that around 30% of domestic violence cases start or intensify during a pregnancy. It is impossible to estimate how many foetuses die as a result of domestic violence, as this is seriously underreported.

The Cost to Society

In 2009, a researcher from the University of Leeds calculated that domestic violence costs the UK as a whole around £15.7 billion per year. This includes spending about £3.8 billion per year on housing, social services, health and the criminal justice system. It is thought that the economy directly suffers around£1.9 billion per year in loss due to abuse sufferers taking time off of work because of their injuries.

In addition to this, the human and emotional cost of abuse is almost £10billion per year. Bearing in mind that this research was completed in 2009, it is likely that the costs to society are now much higher due to economic inflation. Investing more in reducing levels of domestic violence could help to reduce the human and emotional costs of the crime. Society must act as a whole if we want to reduce levels of domestic violence in the UK.