There are many kinds of evidence and information that help us decide how to respond to domestic violence: how to prevent abuse – and the kinds of services to tackle perpetrators and support and empower survivors.
One important part of the evidence is the data that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports in November each year. It often forms the basis of media articles around this time.
And it is around this time of year because of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25th November) – because domestic violence is predominantly gender-based violence – predominantly violence against women by men.
So it is vital in all our responses to domestic violence that we are clear about who does what to whom.
But here the data collection in England and Wales lets us down – Police Forces are still failing to produce the most basic data on whether victims and perpetrators are male or female.
If these are the data being used to make decisions on the seriousness of the issue and what should be done to tackle it, what does it say about priorities that only 28 out of 43 regional Police Forces in England and Wales can report the sex of the victim and the perpetrator?
Police Forces producing adequate data in 2018 (coloured blue)
Police Forces producing adequate data in 2019 (coloured blue)
At this rate it will still be years until England and Wales has just the very basic evidence of “who does what to whom” in terms of domestic abuse reported to the Police.
 A rise from 24 in 2018 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2018 – but it is different Police Forces producing adequate data, with some which produced adequate data in 2018 failing to do so in 2019.