Belfast Telegraph

Statistical press release – Experience of Domestic Violence

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin 5/2013 ‘Experience of Domestic Violence: Findings from the 2008/09 to 2010/11 Northern Ireland Crime Surveys’. It is an Official Statistics Publication.

Based on a self-completion module designed to examine the experiences of, and attitudes to, domestic violence and abuse among Northern Ireland Crime Survey (NICS) respondents aged 16-64 years, the main aims of the publication are to:

  • measure lifetime and recent prevalence of domestic violence and abuse in Northern Ireland, within both an intimate partner relationship and a wider family setting;
  • understand the nature and extent of ‘worst’ incidents of domestic violence and abuse (as determined by the victim); and
  • identify the characteristics and circumstances of recent victims and the risk factors associated with domestic violence and abuse.

    Definition and key findings


    · Within the context of the Northern Ireland Crime Survey (NICS), the concept of domestic violence (interchangeably referred to as domestic violence and / or abuse), which covers a range of emotional, financial, sexual and physical abuse, is subdivided into three main offence groups:

    1. Non-physical abuse (denied access to a fair share of household money; stopped from seeing friends and relatives; having property deliberately damaged; or constantly belittled to the point of feeling worthless);

    2. Threats (frightened by threats to hurt the individual or someone close); and

    3. Force (pushed, held, pinned or slapped; kicked, bitten or hit; choked or strangled; threatened with a weapon; death threats; forced to have sex or take part in sexual activity; use of a weapon; or use of other force).

    Key findings

    · Findings from NICS 2010/11 estimate that 15.7% of people aged 16-64 have experienced at least one form of domestic violence, by a partner, since age 16, with women (19.3%) displaying a higher prevalence rate than men (11.5%).

    · NICS 2010/11 results also estimate that around one-in-twenty adults (5.2%) experienced at least one form of partner violence and abuse within the last three years, a similar proportion to that observed in both NICS 2008/09 (6.4%) and 2009/10 (6.3%).

    · At 6.9% in NICS 2010/11, women were over twice as likely as men (3.2%) to have been victims of domestic violence, by a partner, in the last three years, a gender difference that is reflected across each of the three separate offence groups examined: non-physical abuse (5.6% v 2.7%); threats (1.9% v 0.2%); and force (3.5% v 0.8%).

    · When identified victims were asked to consider their ‘worst’ single incident of partner violence and abuse, NICS 2010/11 findings show that around four-fifths (83%) were carried out within the setting of a current relationship at the time, with the perpetrator most likely to have been a current boyfriend / male partner (35.9%) or husband (31.8%).

    · The police in Northern Ireland were only made aware of around one-third of all ‘worst’ cases of domestic partner abuse (31.1% in NICS 2010/11), meaning that they were unaware of the experiences of seven-in-ten victims (68.9%).

    · While most victims did consider their worst incident of partner abuse to be a criminal offence (56.2% in NICS 2010/11), over two-fifths did not, with around a quarter (28.8%) believing it was ‘wrong, but not a crime’ and a further one-in-seven accepting it as ‘just something that happens’ (12.6%).

    · Findings from NICS 2010/11 also estimate that 6.2% of people aged 16-64 have experienced at least one form of domestic violence and abuse, by a family member (other than a partner), since age 16, with women (7.7%) displaying a higher prevalence rate than men (4.5%).

    · NICS 2010/11 results also indicate that 2.6% of adults were victims of domestic violence and abuse by a family member within the last three years, with no significant difference in the estimated rates for women (3.2%) and men (1.9%).

    · NICS 2010/11 results show that parents (56.6%) were most likely, with step-parents (3.4%) and children (4.9%) least likely, to be identified by victims as the perpetrator(s) of their ‘worst’ incident of family abuse.

    · When partner and family abuse are combined, NICS 2010/11 results estimate that, overall, around one-in-five adults (19.0%) had experienced some form of domestic violence and abuse since the age of 16, a proportion that drops to 7.0% within the last 3 years.

    · For women, the risk of partner abuse (26.6%), and any domestic abuse (partner or family; 30.8%), was at its highest among single adults with children who displayed prevalence rates significantly above the respective NICS 2010/11 averages of 6.9% and 9.2%.

    · Findings indicate that around two-fifths of respondents (38.2% in NICS 2010/11) believed that the government and other agencies are doing ‘too little’ about domestic violence, a rate almost twice that of those who think ‘enough’ is being done (21.1%).

    Notes for editors;

    1. This NICS is a representative, continuous personal interview survey of the experiences and perceptions of crime of adults living in private households throughout Northern Ireland.

    2. Previously conducted in 1994/95, 1998, 2001 and 2003/04, the NICS began operating on a continuous basis in January 2005. It closely mirrors the format and core questions of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW; formerly the British Crime Survey).

    3. The NICS is an alternative, but complementary, way to measure crime in Northern Ireland to traditional recorded crime figures routinely published by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The main aims of NICS are to:
    · measure crime victimisation rates experienced by people living in private households, whether or not these crimes were reported to or recorded by the police;
    · monitor trends in the level of crime, independent of changes in reporting levels or police recording practices;
    · measure people’s perceptions of and reactions to crime (for example, the level and causes of crime, the extent to which they are concerned about crime and the effect of crime on their quality of life);
    · identify the characteristics and circumstances of people most at risk from and affected by different types of crime;
    · measure public confidence in policing and the wider criminal justice system; and
    · collect sensitive information, using self-completion modules, on people’s experiences regarding crime-related issues such as domestic violence.

    4. This official statistics publication draws, primarily, on a suite of questions included in a NICS self-completion module on domestic violence and abuse undertaken between April 2010 and March 2011. A total of 2,433 respondents aged between 16 and 64 completed the module.

    5. Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference. They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access.

    6. The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the DOJ web-site at or Statistics and Research Branch, Knockview Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SL (Email:

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph