What do the latest figures show about violence against women?

A file photo of police tape labelled ‘Do not cross' (Peter Byrne/PA)
A file photo of police tape labelled ‘Do not cross' (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)
12:29pm, Mon 15 Mar 2021
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While men have historically made up the majority of victims of homicide, a majority of victims of violence against the person are female.

There is also evidence that the first coronavirus lockdown in the spring and summer of 2020 saw an increase in stalking and harassment offences.

Here is a snapshot of some of the latest available data for violence against women.

– Homicide

In the year to March 2020, almost three-quarters of all homicide victims in England and Wales were male (73%) and just over a quarter were female (27%).

The number of female victims in 2019/20 was 188, similar to the average of the previous 10 years (189).

There was a 20% increase in the number of male victims in 2019/20, from 422 to 506.

Homicide data is published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Home Office.

The figures for 2019/20 include 39 human trafficking victims found in a lorry in Essex.

POLICE Reclaim Statistics (PA Graphics)

In the 1960s, the proportion of homicide victims was fairly evenly split between males and females.

But since the 1960s the figures have shown different trends.

The number of female victims has tended to fluctuate between 180 and 250 a year.

By contrast, the number of male victims has increased in recent decades, peaking at an average of around 545 a year between 2000/01 and 2004/05.

– Stalking and harassment

While most categories of police-recorded crime fell during the first lockdown in 2020, stalking and harassment offences increased.

The number rose from 128,127 in January-March to 141,850 in April-June: a jump of 11%.

It then rose further to 162,683 in July-September, up 15% on the previous quarter.

POLICE Reclaim Statistics (PA Graphics)

The ONS said there was a “substantial rise” in the annual figures for stalking offences, up from 23,543 in the year to September 2019 to 64,265 in the year to September 2020.

These figures do not provide details of victims by gender.

But separate figures from the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales show that in the year to March 2020, 5.4% of women aged 16 to 59 said they had been the victim of stalking at least once, compared with 2.7% of men.

A decade earlier, the equivalent figures for the year to March 2010 were 4.8% of women and 3.9% of men.

In the survey for the year to March 2020, around one in five women (19.9%) said that since the age of 16 they had been the victim of stalking at least once, with 8.2% saying the stalking had been by a partner and 2.9% by a family member.

– Victims of violence

In the year to March 2020, 56% of victims of violence against the person offences were female and 44% were male, according to data from 41 forces in England and Wales.

The figures for victims of sexual offences were 84% female, 16% male.

Separate findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show an estimated 2.0% of men were likely to have been victims of violent crime in the year to March 2020 compared with 1.3% of women.

Men were more likely to be victims of violent crime for all types of violence, with the exception of domestic violence, where women were more likely to be victims (0.3% of women and 0.1% of men).

– Relationship between victims and suspects

An analysis of data from 17 police forces in England and Wales for the year to March 2020 shows that nearly half of violent offences against women were committed by an intimate partner (49%) compared with just under a quarter (22%) of violent offences against men.

The proportion of violent offences committed by a family relative was similar for both female (21%) and male (23%) victims.

An “acquaintance” or “stranger” relationship between a victim and a suspect were more common for men (34% and 21% respectively) compared with women (22% and 8%).

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