Domestic abuse is a significant public health issue, having a major impact upon those directly affected and their families (Humphreys, 2007; McDowall, 2010). Domestic abuse is defined as; “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or 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”.
For Knowsley, using calculated estimates (Järvinen et al, 2008), the costs of responding over the year would be up to £73 million. This includes the cost of primary care, mental health care, housing, the criminal justice response and human and emotional costs amongst other associated costs.
Merseyside police records incidents that are domestic in nature, and the number of crimes that are domestic related. This figure is then reflected as a percentage of all crime and the percentage of incidents that are then converted into crimes due to the nature of the act committed. The table below shows Knowsley data on recorded domestic abuse incidents and crimes from 2011-12 to 2014-15.
|Year*||All Crimes||Domestic Abuse Crimes||DA % of all Crimes||Domestic Abuse Incidents||Conversion Rate – Incident/Crime|
|2011 – 12||9710||440||4.5%||3805||11.5%|
|2012 – 13||8854||496||5.6%||3537||14%|
|2013 – 14||8822||553||6.2%||3356||16.4%|
|2014 – 15||9238||947||10.2%||3406||27.8%|
Gender is a significant risk factor, with females at greater risk and more likely to experience severe and/or repeated incidents (CESW, 2012). Locally, approximately 85% of victims were females and the majority of perpetrators were male (KDVSS, 2012; Merseyside Police, 2010).
Age is a significant factor, with young females under thirty at greater risk than women over forty, with highest rates in 16 to 24 year olds (Flatley, 2013). Locally over 75% of known victims were 18 to 45, with a peak age of 26 to 35 and few under 18 (Merseyside Police, 2010).
Nationally, domestic abuse has been decreasing since 2004/05, but still evidence suggests that almost a third of women and almost a fifth of men have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16.
Locally, domestic abuse incidents have remained consistent over the last 4 years with around 3,500 incidents per year. However, domestic related crime offences have risen significantly with the numbers doubling between 2011/12 and 2014/15, due to an improved conversion rate between incidents and crimes. The numbers accessing support services continue to increase, with the number of high risk clients being supported increasing by 63% between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
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