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Domestic Abuse Experience among a Police Workforce in England

Published onOct 25, 2022
Domestic Abuse Experience among a Police Workforce in England
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Domestic Abuse Experience among a Police Workforce in England

Perhaps more than any other occupation, police witness the context and aftermath of domestic abuse but little is known about domestic abuse victimisation within policing. This paper, based on data collected from approximately one-quarter of the workforce in an English police force (weighted n~876) addresses this gap. In the survey, respondents described their personal characteristics, colleague experience of victimisation and their personal experience of victimisation. From this, weighting the data to address non-response patterns, we found that the lifetime prevalence of domestic abuse in the police workforce was 22%. Females were more likely to have been victimised (relative risk (RR) 1.61, confidence interval (CI) 1.25-2.08). Of victims, 47% disclosed their victimisation to a colleague, while 37% disclosed to a line manager and 27% were abused by a partner who also worked in policing. Although there was no difference in disclosure between males and females, disclosure to a colleague (RR 1.66, CI 1.24-2.13) or a line manager (RR 1.79, CI 1.24-2.58) was more likely if the abuse was perpetrated by a police member than by someone of a different occupation. This paper – the most comprehensive description of domestic abuse victimisation in a policing population – demonstrates that, despite their occupational role as guardians and enforcers of the law, the police workforce experience domestic abuse in similar ways as do the general population As with the general population, this frequency of victimisation, coupled with the repetitive and continuous nature of domestic abuse and the harm it causes, represents a widespread problem and threat to the wellbeing of the police workforce.


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