In Brief

CLAIM: One in four women in Northern Ireland have at some point in their lives have been a victim of domestic violence.

CONCLUSION: True. Approximately one in four women in Northern Ireland are estimated to have been victims of domestic violence.

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"Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline Launched" by DUP Photos licensed by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to an article posted on MKBLaw, “One in four women in Northern Ireland have at some point in their life been a victim of domestic violence”. This can be linked to the domestic and sexual abuse support agency, Women’s Aid, who quoted the same figure. Other sources have indicated that that this figure may be closer to one in five women in Northern Ireland.

The most recent survey from the Department of Justice, from the 2010/11 financial year, documents the proportion of females aged 16-64 who have experienced domestic abuse in their lifetime. The report, which surveyed 2,433 across Northern Ireland, shows that 19.3% of women had experienced domestic abuse from a partner, while 7.7% experienced abuse from a family member.

In all, the report indicates that 23.2% of women have experienced domestic abuse of some kind from either a partner or family member.

In comparison, 14.1% of men have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetime, either from a partner or a family member.

Domestic abuse figures

The latest report from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), issued in May 2016, indicates that in the 2015/16 period, there were 28,392 domestic abuse incidents in Northern Ireland, which is the highest level recorded since 2004/05, and shows an increase of 0.4 per cent on the 2014/15 figure of 28,287:

Domestic abuse incidents and crimes 2004/05 to 2015/16; source: Police Service of Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse Incidents and Crimes Recorded by the Police in Northern Ireland: Quarterly Update to 31 March 2016

Domestic abuse incidents and crimes 2004/05 to 2015/16; Source: Police Service of Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse Incidents and Crimes Recorded by the Police in Northern Ireland: Quarterly Update to 31 March 2016

Incidents and crimes

It should be noted that there is a difference between incidents and crimes. In 2015/16, of the 28,392 incidents recorded, there were 15,923 which did not contain a crime (i.e. they were non-notifiable offences or incidents where the circumstances did not amount to an offence being committed). The remaining 12,469 incidents contained one or more crimes (amounting to 14,703 recorded crimes in total).