Skip to content

Release: Crime Statistics, Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2011/12

Released: 07 February 2013


John Flatley

Crime, Regional and Data Access Division

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695

Categories: Crime, Crime and Justice, Crime Trends, Crime in England and Wales, Violent and Sexual Crime, Domestic Violence, Gun Crime, Homicide, Knife Crime, Robbery, Sexual Crime, Street Crime

Frequency of release: Quarterly


Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country, Region

Survey name(s): Crime Survey for England and Wales

  • Violent and sexual crime covers a range of offence types. For example, violence spans minor assaults, such as pushing and shoving that result in no physical harm through to serious assault and murder. Sexual assault covers offences from indecent exposure to rape. In half of incidents identified by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) (50%) and offences recorded by the police (56%), the violence resulted in no physical injury to the victim.

  • The 2011/12 CSEW shows that there were 2.1 million violent incidents in England and Wales with 3% of adults victimised. The number of violent incidents has halved from its peak in 1995 when the survey estimated over 4.2 million violent incidents.

  • Focusing on the most serious violence, the number of homicides currently recorded by the police has increased from 1961 to 2002/03, and shown a generally downward trend since. The number currently recorded for 2011/12 (540) is the lowest since 1989 (521).

  • Offences involving the use of firearms peaked later than overall violent crime with 24,094 offences being recorded by the police in 2003/04. Since then the number of such offences has fallen by 60% to 9,555 recorded offences in 2011/12. The current 16% fall between 2010/11 and 2011/12 is the eighth consecutive annual decrease in firearm offences.

  • With regard to sexual and domestic violence, the 2011/12 survey showed there were 536,000 victims of sexual assault in the last year and 2.0 million of domestic abuse. Although the estimated levels of domestic abuse experienced in the last year were lower than those in the 2004/05 CSEW (the baseline for this measure) there has been no statistically significant change since 2008/09. Sexual assault in the last year has shown no statistically significant change over this time period.

  • The CSEW showed that young men were most likely to be the victims of violence. The profile of victims of violent and sexual violence varied according to the type of offence. In 2011/12, as in previous years, more than two-thirds of homicide victims (68%) were male. In contrast, women were more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse. Some 7% of women and 5% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million female and 800,000 male victims. Similarly, the survey found that young women who much more likely to be victims of sexual assault in the last year.

  • The relationship between victims and perpetrators also differed by gender. For example, homicides against men were most likely to be committed by a friend or acquaintance (39%), whilst homicides against women were most likely to be committed by a partner or ex-partner, (51%).

Published alongside this bulletin: Nature of Crime tables

A supplementary set of Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) 2011/12 tables on the Nature of violence, burglary, vehicle related theft, bicycle theft, other household theft, personal and other theft, vandalism, and crimes against children aged 10-15.

Other useful information

Following the Home Secretary’s acceptance of the recommendations of the National Statistician’s Review of crime statistics in June 2011 the collation and publication of crime statistics moved to the ONS on 1 April 2012. For previous publications, please see the Home Office website.

This release represents the second of ONS’ series of topic-based ‘Focus on’ bulletins. Three such bulletins will be released based on the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime data. These replace the Supplementary Bulletin publications formerly released by the Home Office.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a face-to-face survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW provides a better reflection of the true extent of crime and a more reliable measure of trends than police recorded crime statistics. It has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity.

Police recorded crime data are supplied to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police. Recorded crime figures are an important indicator of police workload. They can be used for local crime pattern analysis and provide a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes (in particular, homicide, which is not covered by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)).

For information on how to interpret the crime statistics, please see the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales.

Figures from 2011/12 CSEW relating to violent incidents at work are included in the Health and Safety Executives’ release, ‘Violence at work 2011/12’. Published 7th February 2012.

Crime Statistics Advisory Committee

In line with the National Statistician’s recommendations, an independent Crime Statistics Advisory Committee has also been formed to provide advice on issues related to the collection and presentation of these statistics. Please see the UK Statistics Authority website for further information and minutes of meetings.

Further survey information

A technical report is available providing information on CSEW survey design, weighting and survey response. The latest report is the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales Technical Report, Volume One.

Questionnaires for the survey these analyses are based on, and for the latest survey currently being used in the field, are available from the Crime statistics methodology page.

Anonymised datasets from the CSEW / BCS (in SPSS format) are available on the UK Data Archive through the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS). Researchers, including students, who need data for dissertations or practical work can use these datasets.


If you have any queries regarding crime statistics for England and Wales please email

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods; and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.