Annex 4: Comparisons with England & Wales and Northern Ireland
England & Wales
6.30 In England and Wales, domestic violence (abuse) data is not comparable with Scotland's statistics on domestic abuse due to differences in definition. The definition of domestic violence in England and Wales is:
'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 regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
More details of the definition can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-violence-and-abuse
The definition used by Police Scotland does not include family members, with the data collected only including domestic abuse between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. The definition used by Police Scotland also has no age restrictions upon it.
6.31 Differences in legislation and common law also have to be taken into account when comparing the crime statistics for England & Wales and Scotland.
6.32 Domestic violence statistics are published by the Office
for National Statistics (
the Home Office and included in Crime Statistics bulletins. The
latest Crime Statistics for England & Wales can be accessed
from the following link:
6.33 Similar to the issues above with England & Wales, statistics on domestic violence (abuse) in Northern Ireland are not directly comparable. The definition of domestic violence in Northern Ireland is:
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has adopted the definition of domestic abuse as outlined in the Northern Ireland Government Strategy 'Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland' as:
'an incident of threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, virtual, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on anyone (irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any form of disability) by a current or former partner or family member'.
The following will assist in the application of this definition:
(a) 'Incident' means an incident anywhere and not confined to the home of one of the partners/family members;
(b) 'Family members' include mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparents, whether directly or indirectly related, in-laws or stepfamily.
(c) 'Intimate partners' means there must have been a relationship with a degree of continuity and stability. The relationship must also have had (or reasonably supposed to have had) a sexual aspect, such as in the relationship between husband and wife or between others generally recognised as a couple including same sex couples.
Again the main difference between the definitions is that the definition used by Police Scotland does not include family members, with the data collected only including domestic abuse between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners.
6.34 Statistics from the Police Service of Northern Ireland can be accessed here: https://www.psni.police.uk/inside-psni/Statistics/domestic-abuse-statistics/
Email: Mark Bell
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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