06:12, November 23 72 0 theguardian.com

2017-11-23 06:12:03
England and Wales police record highest number of violent sexual crimes in EU

The highest number of violent sexual crimes, including rapes, in Europe are recorded by the police in England and Wales, according to new European Union official statistics.

The disclosure comes as official British figures show that 1.2 million women and 700,000 men in the year to March 2017 reported being the victims of some form of domestic abuse in England and Wales.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says the majority of victims did not report their abuse to the police. The police logged reports of 1.1m incidents of abuse – including repeat incidents for some victims – and recorded 488,000 of them as crimes but only half of these led to arrests. Domestic-abuse-related offences now account for one-third of the violent crime recorded by the police.

New Eurostat figures, published by the European commission, say that 64,500 of the 215,000 violent sexual crimes recorded by the police across the European Union in 2015 were in England and Wales. Some 35,800 or 55% of the 64,500 sex crimes in England and Wales were rapes.

The European figures show that in absolute terms the numbers in England and Wales were some distance ahead of the 34,300, including 7,000 rapes, recorded in Germany and the 32,900, including 13,000 rapes, in France.

Sweden recorded the highest number of violent sexual crimes relative to its population with 178 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Scotland at 163 per 100,000, Northern Ireland at 156 per 100,000 and England and Wales at 113 per 100,000. Eurostat stressed that the figures reflected the extent to which sex crimes were reported and recorded by the police and did not necessarily reflect the actual number of victims.

The British ONS figures published on Thursday based on the crime survey of England and Wales show little change in recent years in the extent of domestic abuse involving adults aged 16 to 59. The statisticians say that the prevalence rate for victims has fallen from 7 in 100 in 2012 to 5.9 in 100 in 2017, indicating a “gradual, longer-term downward trend”.

The official figures show that there were 454 domestic homicides between 2013 and 2016, which account for a third of all homicides over that period. The majority of victims were women – 319 or 70% – but there were also 135 or 30% male domestic homicide victims. Two-thirds of male domestic homicide victims were killed by another man.

The detailed figures also show that there were 274 refuge services offering support to victims of domestic abuse in England in 2017. The ONS says this is 20 fewer than in 2012 but that the number of available beds has risen over that period from 3,467 to 3,798.

Suzanne Jacob of domstic abuse charity SafeLives said: “Looking at this latest data from ONS we can see significant gaps in the response still exist for people experiencing abuse. Victims are not ‘hidden’ – they’re coming forward in increasing numbers – we’re simply not doing enough yet to see them and respond. We hope this new evidence will encourage agencies to work together to see the whole picture, putting in place the best response, at the earliest stage, for all members of the family.”

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