§ Mr. Charles Clarke
Domestic violence is not separately identified in recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office. However, estimates for the numbers of domestic violence offences in 1999 are available from the 2000 British Crime Survey (BCS). Figures are also available from returns submitted to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary relating to domestic violence "incidents' notified by police forces in England and Wales (whether or not they are subsequently recorded as crimes).
The best estimate from the BCS is that there were 761,000 offences of domestic violence in 1999. Returns from the police indicate that there were 398,670 incidents notified to the police in 1999–2000. The BCS figure is higher than that from police 'incident' returns because not all victims will report what happened to the police. The BCS figure is an estimate only. As it is derived from a sample, it is subject to sampling error. Also, some respondents may be unwilling to reveal experience of domestic violence to interviewers. A different—more confidential—approach to measuring domestic violence in the 1996 sweep of the BCS produced higher estimates than from the conventional approach, as used to derive the 761,000 incidents in 1999.
The BCS and police figures cover incidents against men and women. In the BCS, 74 per cent. of the offences involved women as victims (around 560,000 incidents). This information is not available from the police "incident' returns.