Domestic Abuse: Older People

Home Office written question – answered on 22nd October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the Domestic Abuse Bill includes a requirement that data on domestic abuse is gathered on those aged 74 years old and over.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government fully recognises that those aged 74 and over can be victims of domestic abuse, and we are committed to protecting and supporting all victims of this devastating crime. The new statutory definition of domestic abuse in Part 1 of the Domestic Abuse Bill does not contain an upper age limit.

Testing carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) supported raising the upper age limit of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) from 59 to 74 years, which was implemented from April 2017.

However, this testing also showed that self-completion (whereby the respondent completes the survey questions on a tablet computer) declined as age increased, with the proportion of people completing the modules being much lower for those aged 75 and over. The ONS concluded that the lower response rate for those aged 75 and over would prevent the production of sufficiently robust data, while increasing the burden on respondents.

The methodology used by the CSEW is not a matter for legislation. That is why ministers have raised this issue directly with the National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, Professor Sir Ian Diamond. The ONS Centre for Crime and Justice has committed to test whether it is possible to further increase the upper age limit in a future review. We welcome this commitment.

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