Confronting the Realities of Violent Crime

A woman with a bloody cross painted on her face, next to the Centre for Domestic Violence logo

Statistical innovations help reduce domestic violence

When researchers from Lancaster University explored how violent crimes were reported nationally, they ended up making headlines around the world.

A multi-disciplinary team from the Mathematics and Statistics department and the Law School found that in the Crime Survey for England and Wales, series victimisations (a succession of linked crimes committed by the same person under the same circumstances) were being capped to reduce statistical volatility.

Having shown that this led to serious underestimating – particularly in the reporting of domestic violence and violence against women – the team were able to propose a less biased, more accurate methodology, which has now been adopted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The team also carried out pioneering statistical analysis that exposed the alarming facts about football-related domestic violence and is underpinning campaigns to confront this issue.
These investigations have already had far-reaching consequences, including:

  • Transformation of official policy on crime statistics – plus recalculation of historical estimates showing violent crime to be 6%-32% more prevalent.
  • Increased public awareness of the link between domestic violence and football matches – including a 38% increase if England lose – catalysing new policies and campaigns throughout the UK and beyond, including The National Centre for Domestic Violence/Wunderman Thompson’s “If England get beaten, so will she”.
  • Increased reporting of incidents to domestic violence charities during the 2018 FIFA World Cup (e.g. referral calls to the National Centre for Domestic Violence increased by 19.6%).