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Part of: Crime and Disorder

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Related to: People with Multiple Needs, Socio-economic Inequality, Ill Health and Disability, Mental Health and Illness, Safeguarding Children and Young People, Ethnicity, Sex and Gender, Sexual Orientation, Alcohol, Carers, Police Assessments, Youth Offending, Employment and Economic Activity, Homelessness, Night Time Economy, Safeguarding Adults, Self-Harm, Substance Misuse Suicide and Mortality of Undetermined Intent, Emotional Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young PeopleToxic/Complex Trio and Parental Needs

For information about the help that is available in Bath and North East Somerset see the Interpersonal Violence & Abuse Strategic Partnership Leaflet on Domestic Violence and Abuse Services.

Information on groups and activities in Bath and North East Somerset open to adults who are socially isolated, affected by domestic abuse, mental health issues, substance misuse or homelessness can be found in the Hope Guide

Link to the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance on how health and social care services can respond effectively to the problem of domestic abuse. This guidance was published in February 2014.

Key Facts

  • According to the 2015 Crime Survey for England and Wales 27% of women and 13% of men in the UK have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims and 2.2 million male victims.
  • It is estimated that 5,936 women aged between 16-59 in Bath and North East Somerset would have been a victim of domestic abuse in the past year.
  • There were 1,110  domestic abuse crimes recorded by the police in the financial year or 2015/16 in Bath and North East Somerset, an average of 93 per month. This is an increase of 24.7% (220 crimes) compared to 2014/15.
  • In 2015/16 the police recorded 1,833 under 18 year olds as being either victims, offenders or witnesses of domestic abuse in B&NES.
  • Since the Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) were rolled out in March 2014, in B&NES there have been 45 domestic violence protection notices (DVPN) authorised, 38 DVPOs granted at court and 5 breaches of DVPOs.
  • There were 1,264 multi-agency risk assessments cases (MARAC) over the 6 year period between the financial years 2010/11-2015/16 in Bath and North East Somerset, of which 22% were repeats.
  • In 2015/16 there were 268 MARAC cases in B&NES, a 17% increase compared to 2014/15 when there were 230 cases. 
  • Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016, Southside supported 194 victims of domestic abuse through their Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVA) and Support Worker Services.
  • The IRIS GP programme received 86 female referrals and less than 5 male referrals between July 2015 and June 2016. 
  • SafeLives estimates that the average high risk domestic abuse case costs almost £20,000 in public money, based on an assumed average number of police call outs, A&E attendances and GP support. 
  • It is estimated that the total annual economic cost to services of domestic and sexual violence experienced by women in Bath and North East Somerset is over £17 million, and the greatest cost is to the health care services, making up 22% of the total cost (£3.7 million).
  • 64% of the domestic abuse offenders supervised by probation in Bath and North East Somerset had risk linked to alcohol use.
  • In 2010-2011, only around 15% of women who suffer domestic abuse had any reference to this fact in their primary care medical record

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), highlighted the importance of ‘clarifying a single domestic abuse definition’ not only for use by statutory partners in terms of ‘ensuring a consistent approach in recognising and understanding the breadth of abuse experienced by victims and their families’, but also to help enable victims themselves to ‘recognise that they may be experiencing domestic abuse.’ 1

As a result of a government consultation with the police, voluntary organisations, and local authorities; and the findings of the British Crime Survey 2009/10 that revealed that 16-19-year-olds were the group most likely to suffer abuse from a partner, in September 2012 the government announced that it had amended the definition of domestic abuse. As of March 2013, the official definition will include under 18 year olds and coercive control. 2

‘The previous definition defined domestic abuse as a single act or incident. The new definition recognises that patterns of behaviour and separate instances of control can add up to abuse – including instances of intimidation, isolation, depriving victims of their financial independence or material possessions and regulating their everyday behaviour…’ 3

New Definition - “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological; physical; sexual; financial; emotional.” 4

This definition includes so called 'honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group. 5

This definition is a useful starting point when investigating the problem of domestic abuse in Bath and North East Somerset as it outlines what is considered an abuse, and the fact that domestic abuse specifically refers to that which occurs between those with an intimate or family relationship, a factor that makes domestic abuse particularly concerning and difficult to address.

Overall rates and trends 

According to the 2015 Crime Survey for England and Wales 27% of women and 13% of men in the UK have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 (for every three victims of domestic abuse, two will be female, one will be male). This is the equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims and 2.2 million male victims in the UK. 6 

Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls Estimates were developed by central government in recognition of the issue of underreporting of domestic abuse. The Home Office used the 2009 British Crime Survey and regional data to create a tool that generates estimates for the likely extent and cost of domestic abuse in a given area. Based on the area’s 2011 Census population figures (89,944) this tool estimated that 5,936 women aged between 16-59 in Bath and North East Somerset would have been a victim of domestic abuse in the past year. 7 As with all estimates it is important to treat these figures with caution. Nevertheless, due to the problem of underreporting, when these estimates are compared to reported cases of domestic abuse they provide a useful indication as to the extent of underreporting, and the likely overall scale of domestic abuse amongst women in the area.

1 in 5 men and 2 in 5 women estimated to experience domestic abuse in the UK 

The Home Office tool estimated that the total annual economic cost to services of domestic and sexual violence experienced by women in Bath and North East Somerset is over £17 million annually and that the greatest cost is to the physical and mental health care services, making up 22% of the total cost (£3.7 million). 8

SaveLives cost estimate of a high risk domestic abuse case 9

SafeLives is a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse. Previously called Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (Caada).  SaveLives combines insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people who have experienced domestic abuse to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. 

SafeLives estimates that the average high risk domestic abuse case costs almost £20,000 in public money, based on an assumed average number of police call outs, A&E attendances and GP support. This results in estimated direct costs of around £2.4 billion per year to the tax payer, and still more to employers.

Police - There were 1,110  domestic abuse crimes recorded by the police in the financial year or 2015/16 in Bath and North East Somerset, an average of 93 per month. This is an increase of 24.7% (220 crimes) compared to 2014/15, when there were 890 domestic abuse crimes recorded.

There were 1,003 domestic abuse non-crime incidents recorded by the police in the financial year or 2015/16 in Bath and North East Somerset, an average of 84 per month. This is an decrease of 8.3% (-91 non-crime incidents) compared to 2014/15, when there were 1,094 domestic abuse non-crime incidents recorded.

This means that in total there were 2,113 domestic abuse crimes and non-crime incidents recorded by the police in the financial year or 2015/16 in Bath and North East Somerset, an average of 176 per month. This is an increase of 6.5% (129 crimes and non-crime incidents) compared to 2014/15. 

In B&NES during the 5 year period between the financial years 2011/12-2015/16 the police recorded 8,577 under 18 year olds as being either victims, offenders or witnesses of domestic abuse.* 10

In 2015/16 the police recorded 1,833 under 18 year olds as being either victims, offenders or witnesses of domestic abuse in B&NES, a similar number compared to the 1,805 in 2014/15, but a 7.3% increase compared to the 1,708 2011/12.*11

*Please note - Caution needs to be applied to these figures as the police have recently gone through a change of system and are still working on data quality.

Figure 1: Number of under 18 year olds in B&NES recorded by the police as being either a victim, offender or witness of domestic abuse (2011/12 - 2015/16)* 12

*Please note - Caution needs to be applied to these figures as the police have recently gone through a change of system and are still working on data quality.

In B&NES during the 5 year period 2011/12-2015/16 48.8% (4,189) of the under 18 years recorded by the police as being either victims, offenders or witnesses of domestic abuse in B&NES were female, 49.6% (4,258) were male and 1.5% (130) were unknown.  These proportions were similar in all 5 years with 46.8% (858) being female in 2015/16, 49.1% (900) male and 4.1% (75) unknown.*13

For more information go to the Children Exposed to Domestic Abuse section. 

Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) - were rolled out across England and Wales in March 2014.  Under the DVPO scheme, the police and magistrates can, in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident, ban a perpetrator from returning to their home and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days.

The scheme comprises of an initial temporary notice (domestic violence protection notice, DVPN), authorised by a senior police officer and issued to the perpetrator by the police, followed by a DVPO that can last from 14 to 28 days, imposed at the magistrates’ court. DVPOs are designed to help victims who may otherwise have had to flee their home, giving them the space and time to access support and consider their options.

Since the DVPOs were rolled out in March 2014, in B&NES there have been 45 domestic violence protection notices (DVPN) authorised, 38 DVPOs granted at court and 5 breaches of DVPOs. 14  

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs) are meetings where information about high risk domestic abuse victims (those at risk of murder or serious harm) is shared between local agencies. By bringing all agencies together at a MARAC, a risk focused, coordinated safety plan can be drawn up to support the victim. Over 260 MARACs are operating across England, Wales and Northern Ireland managing over 57,000 cases a year. 15

There were 1,264 multi-agency risk assessments cases (MARAC) over the 6 year period between the financial years 2010/11-2015/16 in Bath and North East Somerset, of which 22% (283 cases) were repeats. During this period the average number of cases per month increased from 17 in 2010/11 to 22 in 2015/16. 16

In 2015/16 there were 268 MARAC cases in B&NES, a 17% increase compared to 2014/15 when there were 230 cases. The proportion of repeat cases also increased from 19% (44 cases) in 2014/15 to 24% (63 cases) in 2015/16.  17

Figure 2: Number of MARAC cases in B&NES (2010/11-2015/16)18

Safeguarding Adults is the multi-agency work done to minimise and manage risk to adults who may be vulnerable, particularly those eligible for social care services. The number of domestic abuse related referrals to Adult Safeguarding has risen steadily over time from 46 in 2008/09 to 154 in 2013/14. (235% increase). However, this is in line with overall increased rates of reporting. 19 20

Southside is a charity that works with children and families with multiple and complex difficulties in Bath and North East Somerset, to help them get the care and support they need. It’s professionally qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) provide immediate crisis support for victims of domestic abuse. Southside’s IDVAs provide specialist advice and intervention to reduce the risk of serious harm to adults and children affected by domestic abuse. Southside assess the perceived level of risk to referrals according to the CAADA-DASH Risk Identification Checklist (RIC) (CAADA is now known as SafeLives).21

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016, Southside supported 194 victims of domestic abuse through their Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVA) and support worker services. 22

During this period the majority (76%) of Southside IDVA clients were at high-risk and were experiencing multiple forms of abuse. Conversely, the majority (73%) of Southside outreach clients were at lower risk of serious harm. The profile of clients accessing each of the services was in line with the specialist nature of those services. 23

Between April 1st 2013 and June 30th 2014, Southside had 380 domestic abuse referrals to their IDVA service, with an average of 76 referrals per financial quarter. For the 3 financial quarters between April 2013 and June 2014 where the level of risk was recorded, 87% were high risk referrals, and 13% medium risk referrals, with an average of 63 high risk referrals per quarter and 9 medium risk adults per quarter. 24

Overall between April 2013 and June 2014 the numbers of referrals to Southside increased from an average of 68 per quarter in the first 2 quarters to an average of 90 per quarter in the last 2 quarters, a 32% increase. 25

Figure 3: Number of referrals per quarter to Southside's Independent Domestic Violence Advice Service (April 2013-June 2014) 26

Note for graph - There are no figures for high and medium referrals for quarter 3 and 4 of 2013-14 because these numbers were not recorded. 

Southside also record the number of referrals to the Independent Domestic Violence Advice Service from A&E for each quarter (as part of their Patience Project). According to Southside's records, between April 2013 and June 2014 there were 37 referrals to the IDVA service from A&E, with an average of 7 referrals per quarter. Between April 2013 and June 2014 overall the number of referrals to the Southside IDVA Service from A&E declined from an average of 9 referrals per quarter in the first 2 quarters to an average of 7 referrals per quarter in the last 2 quarters.  27

IRIS - Identification and Referral to Improve Safety Programmeis a GP-based domestic violence and abuse (DVA) training support and referral programme provided by Southside. It is a collaboration between primary care and third sector organisations specialising in DVA. Core areas of the programme are training and education, clinical enquiry, care pathways and an enhanced referral pathway to specialist domestic violence services. It is aimed at women who are experiencing DVA from a current partner, ex-partner or adult family member. IRIS also provides information and signposting for male victims and for perpetrators.28

The IRIS programme started in B&NES in July 2015 and received 86 females and less than 5 male referrals between July 2015 and June 2016. Of the 86 female referrals 41 engaged, 14 did not engage and 31 are pending other interventions such as the Freedom Program and court hearings. 29

For more information about referrals to the IRIS programme in B&NES see our briefing paper

The New Way Service is part of the Council’s social services, it works with families with domestic abuse issues that impact on children, but that are not going through the criminal justice system. Thus, its records help to contribute to our understanding of domestic abuse that is not reflected in police and probation data. The New Way Service has been going for about 10 years and has a male and female worker that work with each partner in the family (when possible) separately to help address their problems and to move the situation forward. Referrals to the New Way Service primarily come from Children and Social care services. 30 31

For the period between January 2013 and March 2015 the New Way Service was working with 103 families/couples. This means that the New Way Service during this period worked with 200 people who had been either victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse, or often both. There were 252 children linked to these families, so on average 2 children had been affected by domestic abuse per family/couple.  32

Bath Next Link provides a range of support and housing services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse. These include a safe house/refuge with 10 spaces/units, children’s services, resettlement and outreach services, a crisis response service, dedicated Black and Ethnic Minority Services and a confidential help line run in partnership with Womankind. 33 34

Next Link housed 35 women in its safe house in Bath between April 2014 and March 2015, but 58 women had to be turned away due to lack of space.  Next Link housed 38 women in its Bath safe house between April 2013 and March 2014, but 29 women had to be turned away due to lack of space. 35 

Next Link supported 44 women as part of their resettlement floating support service between April 2014 and March 2015, and 31 women between March 2013 and April 2014. 36

Julian House is a charity based in Bath that offers direct support to homeless people, offenders, travellers, and victims of domestic abuse:   

  • Provision of food
  • Provision of shelter via hostels
  • Targeted projects to prevent people becoming homeless by engaging them in meaningful activities, training and preparation for employment
  • Programmes to help victims of domestic abuse 37

The Julian House Freedom Programme is an educational and information programme run by Julian House for women who have experienced/are experiencing domestic abuse that aims to develop awareness of the power and control in abusive relationships and to enable women to gain knowledge and skills to protect themselves and their children from harm. It is a free rolling 12 week that women can join any time. 38

The Bath Freedom Programme had 151 women referred to it in 2014, compared to 52 women (71 referrals) during year 1st April 2012- 31st March 2013. 39 40

Of the 151 women referred to the programme in 2014, at the time of their referral: 41

  • 43% had been in contact with the police
  • 16% had sought some sort of legal protection
  • 10% had been involved in the Marac process