Is Domestic Abuse a gendered issue?

Domestic Abuse as a Gendered Issue

Domestic violence occurs around the world and affects people of all ages, sex and socio-economic status. In the United Kingdom, there are varying statistics about the rate of domestic violence, which paints an unrepresentative picture of the status quo.

The British Crime Survey for instance states that between 2004 and 2009, men made up between 37.7%-45.5% of all domestic violence victims. The survey also states that between 2008-2009, more than 1 in 4 women (28%) and around 1 in 6 men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16.

These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims. Additionally, 6% of women and 4% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the past year, equivalent to an estimated one million female victims of domestic abuse and 600,000 male victims. To simplify, these statistics propose that for every three victims of domestic abuse, two will be female and one will be male.

Whilst both men and women do indeed experience domestic violence, these statistics do not account for many factors. For instance, they do not record the percentage men who suffer domestic abuse in same sex relationships. In a 2006 survey of 280 men in homosexual relationships, 35.2% stated that they had experienced domestic abuse at some time in a same sex relationship (Donovan et all, 2006).

British Crime Survey Statistics are also based on single incidents of a criminal nature, and records a maximum of five incidents per victim. Therefore, if a victim reports 10 assaults, only 5 will ever be recorded.

The figures also do not account for the severity of violence, the frequency of violence, or complex pattern of abuse which can include emotional and psychological abuse and the context in which it violence takes place. If this was the case, the figure would show 89% of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women.

Women still account for the vast majority of domestic violence victims and partner homicides. On average, two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner. This constitutes nearly 40% of all female homicide victims (Office of National Statistics, 2015).