Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence
An estimated 26% of women and 14% of men have experienced domestic abuse in their adult lifetime). According to data analysis approximately 57,000 adult residents (aged 16-59) have ever been a victim of domestic abuse in Somerset, with 17,300 residents being a victim of domestic abuse within the past year (July 2015 – June 2016). Partner abuse was the most prevalent type of abuse experienced by victims, with family based abuse being less common but still suffered by over a third of domestic abuse victim.
Local prevalence estimates suggest that around 8,000 women (aged 16+) in Somerset are at risk of domestic abuse, with around 2,000 estimated to be in high to medium risk. There are estimated to be between 6,000 to 6,500 children living in households with a risk of domestic abuse. The long-standing negative effects for children who are living in abusive households is becoming more clear.
The police Avon & Somerset Constabulary Police Force Area recorded 27,628 of domestic abuse during 2017/18, with the rate of crime being 16 per 1,000. This area includes Somerset, BANES, South Gloucester and Bristol, therefore in reality the true picture would likely show a certain amount of variation in the rates between the different upper tier local authority areas. It is widely accepted that incidents of domestic abuse and sexual violence continue to be under-reported.
Based on ONS 2017 population estimates and a lifetime prevalence (16+) of 20% for women and 4% men, there were roughly 29,013 women and 5,670 men who experienced sexual assault in Somerset in 2017. The total number of offences reported to the police in Somerset was 1,167 with a crude rate of 2.1 per 1000 people, in 2017/18.
In 2018/19, the cost of domestic abuse and sexual violence to services in Somerset was an estimated £27.3 million. This excludes costs of child protection, and the human and emotional costs to the victims.
Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC)
Between April 2018 and March 2019, a total of 457 cases were discussed by Somerset’s MARACs (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences), due to being identified as at high risk of domestic abuse. During the course of this year, as a result of an area-wide review of MARAC, a new way of working was piloted to improve outcomes for victims and increase the effectiveness of multi-agency working. This resulted in a reduction of the number of cases requiring a face to face MARAC discussion.
Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) service
During 2018/19, a total of 1122 referrals were received by the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor service, which is an increase from 2017/18 (1056). The IDVA service works with the most high risk victims of domestic abuse. Around 95% of referrals during 2018/19 related to female victims.
Somerset Domestic Abuse Outreach (non-IDVA) Service
People identified as being at medium risk of domestic violence are supported through the Domestic Abuse Outreach service. During 2018/19 there were 672 referrals to the Domestic Abuse Outreach service, which is virtually identical to 2017/18 (673)
Specialist Domestic Abuse Refuge/Safehouse Services
During 2018/19 there were 135 referrals received for Refuge/safehouse services, an increase from 124 in 2017/18. Around 59% of victims originated from within the South West. Data is not readily available to determine the number of Somerset victims fleeing to other parts of the country
Somerset's Strategic Action Plan
Somerset’s Domestic Abuse Prevention Strategy 2017-20 identifies three main priority areas:
- Effective and resilient system for supporting victims of domestic abuse
- Breaking the cycle of victimisation by working with offenders and increasing prevention activity
- Working in partnership for best results.
The full Somerset Domestic Abuse Strategy, which includes the Action Plan and full definition of domestic abuse, can be downloaded below.
Somerset Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment, Strategy and Appendices:
Information and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence is available through the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support (DAFFS) line on 0800 69 49 999 *calls may be chargeable from mobile phones, or through the Somerset Survivors website.