5.3 Using police crime data to research domestic violence in same sex relationships

Metropolitan Police Service, London LOGO

There is an official requirement on the police in the United Kingdom to collect data on all domestic violence incidents reported to them, regardless of whether or not the incidents constitute a criminal offence. This criterion is far more inclusive than many other countries and this is reflected in the number of incidents that are reported to the MPS.

The MPS is able to identify domestic violence incidents through their electronic crime reporting information system (CRIS) and has an identifier for domestic incidents that enables these to be analysed separately. In the last financial year (2006/7) there were 101,119 domestic violence incidents reported to the MPS and of those incidents, 54,746 were considered as criminal offences.

It is encouraging that an identifier for domestic violence in same sex relationships was added to the system in December 2006. However, it is still not being used as extensively as it could be and a greater programme of awareness needs to be provided to the police officers filling in crime reports.

As a result, our sample of same sex domestic violence incidents for the calendar year 2006 had to be extracted from the system in stages. Taking first all incidents of domestic violence reported over this time period, these were then filtered to extract only those incidents where both the victim and suspect were recorded as being females. These, in turn, were then filtered to extract only those incidents where the relationship between the two was listed as being either partners or ex-partners. Each of these cases were then viewed to sift out those cases where either the gender or the relationship had been coded correctly, or the presence of multiple victims and suspects had confounded the data extraction process.

This process resulted in 206 cases of domestic violence in female same sex relationships being identified. It should be noted that other instances may have been recorded by the MPS over this time period but factors such as inaccurate recording practices and the data extraction process used may well have restricted the numbers identified.

Another reason for the low numbers reported could also be due to the LGBT community feeling less confident in reporting their experiences to the wider community, as Donovan et al explained in their report.
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Funded by:and
European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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