5.5 Characteristics of victim and offender

Metropolitan Police Service, London LOGO

(i) Features of victims and suspects

  • The age of victims and suspects is predominantly 21-40, with the next largest age grouping being 41-50.
  • The majority of victims and suspects are “White European” in ethnic appearance (74.8% and 70.0% respectively).

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(ii) Level and nature of injury

One in four (27.0%) incidents resulted in no injury and almost one in ten (9.3%) incidents involved threats but no injury. Although the remaining two thirds of incidents resulted in some level of injury, only 3.4% of the incidents were categorised as resulting in serious injuries.

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Perpetrators used weapons in just under one in five incidents (19.4%) reported to the police and almost one in four injuries (22.1%) required medical attention.

Type of weapons used:

Type of injury received:
Knives Cuts
Belts Bruising
Batton Punching
Bottles Slapping
Dog chain Broken
Car Limbs
Hammer Bites
Gun Burns
Shoes Gun shot
Lamps
Matches
Mop

The injuries requiring medical attention related to the victim’s injuries in almost all cases. However, the suspect also required medical attention in 6 cases.

(iii) Repeat victimisation

The proportion of repeat victims is 35.4%, according to the police definition of the victim having reported a previous incident over the preceding 12 month period. It is interesting to note that the same data for the time period of January 2001 showed similar proportions.

However, when looking in detail at the crime reports, over half of the victims (52.8%) indicated that they had experienced previous incidents of domestic violence.

(iv) Relationship between victim and perpetrator

The majority of victims (51.5%) were ex-partners and 47.6% were recorded as being partners. In 11 instances separated partners were still living in the same house together.

(v) Whether the victim was on their own when the incident occurred

In the majority of incidents (81.0%) the victim was on their own (in the case of receiving text messages or telephone calls) or alone with the perpetrator. However, in 19.0% of cases incidents took place while family, friends or others were present.

(vi) Whether the victim and/or suspect had children

It was mentioned in the police report that in one in four incidents (23.8%) that either the victim or the suspect had children, although not all of the children lived with either the suspect or the victim. Only 7.8% of incidents state that the children were present when the incident occurred.

(vii) Issues while separating & reasons given for the conflict

Issues while separating
Reasons given for conflict
Abusive partner/jealously Termination of Relationship
Already separated Accusations of cheating
Still living together General abuse/harassment
Buying out the other Alcohol/Drugs
Injunction out on suspect Property/belongings issues
Victim gone to refuge
Couple seeing each other casually
Divorced
Victim having affair/seeing someone else

(viii) Consumption of alcohol or drugs

Alcohol or drugs are mentioned as being used to some degree in 45.6% of incidents. However, the extent of usage is unclear in many of these incidents.

(ix) Information relating to either the victim or suspect having mental health or disability issues.

Police officers’ records showed that just under a third of the couples (29.6%) either had disability or mental health issues.  There were few cases where either the victim or suspect had a disability however the majority of the issues related to mental health problems. A third of the issues where identified as mental health issues but this was not specified any further.

The graph below provides a breakdown the disability or mental health issues mentioned by either party for those cases where issues were mentioned.

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One in seven incidents mentioned that one of the parties either attempted suicide or felt suicidal. Approximately one in ten incidents stated that one of the parties was affected by self harm issues and a similar proportion stated that one of the parties was affected by depression. One in twelve incidents stated that one of the parties had epilepsy, and the same proportion of incidents mentioned one or both parties having drink problems or suffering from alcoholism. A smaller proportion stated that one or both parties had schizophrenia or were using drugs.

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European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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