A survey from the Office for National Statistics estimates that there were 1.9 million victims of domestic abuse last year in England and Wales, or 6.1 per cent of the population.
For the purposes of the survey, forms of domestic abuse constitute emotional, financial or physical assault carried out by a partner, ex-partner or family member, as well as sexual assault and stalking carried out by a partner or anyone else.
Women were disproportionately affected by all forms of domestic abuse, with an estimated 1.3 million women (8.2 per cent of the female population) reporting experiencing domestic abuse compared with an estimated 600,000 men (4.0 per cent of the male population).
Sexual assault was especially disproportionate against women, with 2.7 per cent of females having experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, and 0.7 per cent of males reporting the same.
The majority of reported domestic abuse was inflicted by a partner rather than another family member. The survey showed that 6.5 per cent of women and 2.8 per cent of men reported having experienced partner abuse last year.
When asked about domestic abuse over their lifetimes, those surveyed revealed even more upsetting statistics: over a quarter of women and over an eighth of men had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. This amounts to an estimated 6.7 million victims.
The Office for National Statistics reported a significant drop in domestic abuse between 2005 and 2009, but no improvements since then.
In the wake of public disappointment with the policies surrounding domestic abuse, new legislation introduced in December aims to reduce emotional abuse. Charges can now be laid once a partner or family member shows a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour.
As reported by the BBC, the Crown Prosecution Service stated that this behaviour could include threats and humiliation, as well as controlling a partner’s dress, social life or social media accounts.