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Domestic abuse cases up 24 per cent, reports Citizens Advice

29 December 2015

There has been a 24 per cent increase in the number of people seeking help from Citizens Advice for domestic abuse.

Citizens Advice helped over 5,400 people suffering from domestic abuse in the year from October 2014, including 3,000 victims of emotional abuse and 900 victims of financial abuse.

The national charity publishes its latest figures today as coercive and controlling behaviour becomes an official criminal offence.  Between July and September 2015:

  • 1,500 people sought our help for domestic abuse, a rise of 24 per cent from the same period last year.

  • The number of people seeking Citizens Advice’s help for emotional abuse rose by 15 per cent in the same period (from 763 to 880).

  • The number of people seeking Citizens Advice’s help for financial abuse rose from 182 to 259, a 42 per cent increase.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Perpetrators are using coercive control to trap victims in abusive relationships.

“More and more people are coming to Citizens Advice because they are experiencing abuse by a partner or loved one including restrictions on accessing their own money, forcing them to take on debts and spying on them online.

“The Government’s change in the law making coercive control a criminal offence is an important step forward in protecting victims of domestic abuse and helping them find a way out.  

“Only two in five people realise that domestic abuse can be financial and many don’t recognise signs of emotional abuse, so this change also helps to highlight that there are other forms of abuse as well as physical.

“It is also important that the Government continues to consider whether victims of all forms abuse are able to get the support they need, including through the justice system and legal aid.”

Earlier this month, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) revealed that the number of domestic abuse cases reported to the police in England and Wales has risen by 31 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

Advice

If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, or you are concerned someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, you can seek help by calling confidential helplines:

  • If the victim is a woman, you can get help from the freephone, twenty-four hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership by Refuge and Women's Aid).

  • If the victim is a man, you can get help from the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.

  • If the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you can get specialised help from Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 5428.

  • If you live in Wales you can call the bilingual Live Fear Free national helpline on 0808 80 10 800.

You can also come in to seek help around domestic abuse from your local Citizens Advice and online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free practical and emotional support for witnesses in all criminal courts across England and Wales. The Witness Service is run by nearly 2,500 volunteers and 300 staff and its independent support is offered to anyone to called to give evidence.
  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  4. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  6. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.