Domestic abuse can cause serious long-term physical and emotional harm to victims as well as those who witness it, for example, children in the household. Witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse as a child is a key Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). This is important as children’s early experiences have a significant impact on their development, particularly as there is evidence to suggest that children who experience ACEs are more likely to become involved in crime, either as a victim or perpetrator. The impact of domestic abuse on children in the city is highlighted by over half (54.3%) of High Risk Domestic Abuse (HRDA) referrals having children in the household.
As part of the Domestic Abuse Act, a statutory definition for domestic abuse was created, which emphasises that domestic abuse is more than just physical abuse and includes the following:
- Physical or sexual abuse;
- Violent or threatening behaviour;
- Controlling or coercive behaviour;
- Economic abuse;
- Psychological, emotional or other abuse
It is difficult to understand the overall picture of domestic abuse, as it is frequently a hidden crime with very high levels of under-reporting.
Domestic flagged crime currently accounts for 17% of all recorded crime in Southampton, a significant increase compared to the previous year (14.5% in 2019/20). Domestic flagged crime includes domestic violent crime, which has experienced a 3.3% increase over the last year in Southampton. The number of domestic violent crimes in Southampton have increased for an eighth consecutive year. Domestic violence continues to be a key driver of violent crime in Southampton, with over a third (35.5%) of violent crime flagged as domestic in the most recent year.
Although anyone can experience domestic abuse, there is a very strong link between deprivation and domestic flagged crime in Southampton. The rate of domestic flagged crime is approximately 5 times higher in the most deprived neighbourhoods in the city compared to rates for the least deprived areas.
A summary report and slide set produced as part of the 2020/21 Strategic Assessment are available to download below. For more information on crime in Southampton, see the Safe City Strategic Assessment page.