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Domestic abuse related to roughly 10% of crimes recorded by police

Around one in 10 crimes recorded by police are linked to domestic abuse, official figures show.

In the year to the end of March forces logged a total of 1.03 million incidents in the category, a report from the Office for National Statistics found.

Following investigations, police concluded that a domestic-abuse related criminal offence was committed in 421,000, or approximately two in five (41%), of the incidents.

This means that 11% of all crimes recorded by constabularies in England and Wales, excluding fraud, were flagged as domestic abuse-related.

Violence against the person offences were the most likely to be domestic abuse-related, with such cases making up a third of all recorded violent crime.

Domestic abuse is officially defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members.

It can involve psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse.

Findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show an estimated 1.8 million adults aged 16 to 59 said they were a victim of domestic abuse in the last year.

Women were more likely to report having experienced domestic abuse than men, with an estimated 1.2 million female victims compared with 651,000 male victims, the report said.

However, the difference between the number of male and female victims is at its lowest compared with previous years, the study said.

It went on: "The trend in the prevalence of domestic abuse has remained fairly stable since the year ending March 2009, but is at its lowest since the year ending March 2005.

"The majority of victims of domestic abuse, as measured by the CSEW, will not report their experiences to the police and therefore CSEW estimates should not be seen as indication of demand on the police."

The report also said:

:: In the year ending in March, there there were seven domestic abuse-related offences recorded by the police per 1,000 population across England and Wales;

:: This varied by police force area from four offences per 1,000 population to 13 offences per 1,000 population;

:: There were 13 forces that had a higher rate of domestic abuse-related crime than the average for England and Wales, while the remaining 30 were below the national figure;

:: A decision to charge was made for 70% of domestic-abuse related cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by police;

:: There were a total of total of 432 domestic homicides recorded by the police in England and Wales between April 2012 and March 2015.

Lucy Hastings, of charity Victim Support, said: "It is harrowing to learn that last year, nearly two million adults experienced domestic abuse, including one in eight women aged 16 to 19.

"That prevalence is so high among this age group demonstrates the importance of high-quality sex and relationships education being available to equip young people with the tools they need to understand healthy relationships, make safe choices and know how to seek advice and support."

Louisa Rolfe, National Police Chiefs' Council lead on domestic abuse, said: "The better our data, the better we understand domestic abuse as a crime and the more we can do to support victims and prevent harm, which is what really matters.

"However, this is only the first phase of a wider project and caution must be taken when interpreting the data or trying to make direct comparisons across different organisations, methodologies and points in time.

"For now, it should be used to stimulate thought rather than draw conclusions."

She said the statistics " do not currently represent the extent of our commitment to tackling domestic abuse and the scale of the challenge we face", adding: "It is still far too acceptable in society.

"Reports to the police are continuing to rise and the gap between experienced crime and recorded crime is narrowing.

"It is good to see more victims having the confidence to come forward and start to take back control from those who seek to control and intimidate them.

"Domestic abuse is a serious crime and never the fault of the victim. We are here to help."

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