Director of Public Health Annual Report 2021: Domestic Violence and Abuse

Last updated: 24 August 2021 Download the report (pdf, 857.0 KB)

When is someone more at risk of domestic abuse?

There are certain times when abuse may be more severe or more frequent.

Pregnancy and postnatal period

Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of domestic abuse.

International estimates suggest that between 4 and 9 of every 100 pregnant women are abused during pregnancy or soon after birth. Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of domestic abuse and also changes to the pattern of abuse.

The time of greatest risk is thought to be the postnatal period. Estimates suggest that between 290 and 650 Buckinghamshire women may be affected by domestic abuse each year when pregnant or in the postnatal period. Midwives and Health Visitors are aware of the potential for domestic abuse and screen patients carefully, seeking specialist help as appropriate. Local domestic abuse services support pregnant and postnatal women.

Drug and alcohol use

Drug and alcohol use can decrease inhibitions, act as a catalyst, and may lead to violence to solve conflicts in intimate partner relationships.

In the Crime Survey for England and Wales (2018) victims reported the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol in 17% of cases and drugs in 11% of instances and victims were under the influence of alcohol (8%) and drugs (2%) at the time of abuse. Recent police data for Buckinghamshire show that 9 in 10 perpetrators were not using alcohol at the time of the offence.

Separating or fleeing from perpetrator

Leaving – or shortly after leaving – an abuser is a dangerous time for the victim.

Leaving an abuser is a dangerous time. The risk of further abuse can increase as and after the victim leaves. One study explored post-separation violence, and found 3 in 4 women suffered further abuse, and 1 in 3 women suffered continued post-separation violence.

Furthermore, 37 of the 91 women killed by a male partner in the UK in 2018, had either separated or were taking steps to separate from their partner. 11 of the 37 women were killed in the first month of separation.

Football matches

Studies in England have shown significant increases in the number of domestic abuse cases recorded by the police when the national team are involved in significant football matches, both when they win, and even more so when they lose. A recent study showed that England football success in international tournaments also increased the likelihood of alcohol-related violent behaviours in the home.

A London hospital reported a 200% referral increase to its domestic abuse support service during the 2014 football World Cup. The Women’s Aid campaign ‘Football United Against Domestic Violence’ aims to raise awareness of domestic abuse and battle sexist attitudes that underpin abuse against women. One of the football clubs that supports this campaign is Wycombe Wanderers.