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Violent crime. Up for women, down for men

Friday, 29 January 2016

Bookings are now open for this year's Eve Saville memorial lecture, to be delivered by Professor Sylvia Walby, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research at Lancaster University.

At the lecture, in London on 12 April, Professor Walby will present ground-breaking new research showing that women have born the brunt of rises in violence victimisation since the start of the financial crisis in 2008/09. Men, by contrast, have experienced falling rates of violence victimisation.

Book your place today.

Background

The research, by Professor Walby and colleagues at Lancaster University has recently been published in the British Journal of Criminology. It shows that the way official statistics are calculated masks a rise in violence since 2009. A surge in violence against women is behind an overall rise which has occurred even in the face of continuing declines in violence against men. It also challenges the notion that men are more likely to experience violence.

The official statistics come from the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which caps the number of crimes a single person can report to stop people who experience exceptional levels of crime from distorting the overall figures. But people who experience domestic violence often suffer repeated attacks over long periods. 

Professor Walby's research counts all reported instances of violence, as well as including people's experiences of sexual violence, which are currently classified as a separate category of their own. 

Analysing the data in this way shows that the decline in violence is reversed in 2009, when domestic violence and violence against women by acquaintances began to rise. These increase coincided with the beginning of the financial crises and austerity policies in Britain. 

Reflecting on Professor Walby's research, Sisters Uncut argue in this powerful article in The Independent that cuts to support services for victims and survivors of domestic violence have contributed to the surge in violence against women:

'Austerity cut the lifelines that women experiencing violence need to access freedom: including specialist domestic violence services, legal aid, benefits and social housing. As funding has fallen, violence has risen and it's no coincidence.'