Domestic abuse figures revealed
3:35pm Thursday 13th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
One in 10 adults believe it is "mostly or sometimes acceptable" to hit or slap their partner in response to them having an affair, official figures have revealed.
A study of emotional, financial and physical abuse by partners or family members, as well as sexual assaults and stalking, found 16% young adults aged 16 to 19 - about one in six - thought it was acceptable to slap or hit a partner, compared to 10% for all adults.
Overall, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 30% of women and 16.3% of men had experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 4.9 million women and 2.7 million men.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: " If there was this level of violence at football matches, there would be a national outcry. Yet, all too often, domestic violence is ignored and hidden behind the net curtains, while victims of domestic abuse are met with silence.
"The scale of police cuts mean specialist domestic violence units have been disbanded.
"Changes to legal aid have made it harder for victims to take out injunctions against their abusers and cuts to local authority budgets mean local support services are under serious strain.
"This Government is letting down victims of domestic abuse. We cannot continue to ignore this problem."
Elsewhere, the figures revealed 7.1% of women reported domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to 1.2 million victims, while 4.4% of men reported domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to 700,000 male victims.
Around 2% of women and 0.5% of men experienced some form of sexual assault in the last year.
Nearly a quarter of women living in lone-parent households were victims of domestic abuse in the last year - 22.7% - compared with around one in 20 of those living in a household with other adults and children (5.3%).
Women victims of partner abuse were more likely to have been abused more than once in the last year by their partner - 30% - than to have only been abused once, 19%.
Police took some sort of action in 75% of cases, the figures showed. Most commonly, police warned the offender - in 43% of cases - or arrested the offender, in 24% of cases. In 18% of cases the offender was charged.
Overall, the figures showed the number of all violent crimes is at its lowest level since 1981 with 1.9 million violent incidents against adults in England and Wales in 2012/13.
The Home Office Homicide Index showed there are 551 homicides - murder, manslaughter and infanticide - currently recorded in 2012/13 in England and Wales, 21 more than the 530 recorded in 2011/12, a 4% increase.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: " It is good to see that police reform is working and violent crime is continuing to fall.
"We are continuing to work to stamp out gang violence, tackle domestic abuse and protect vulnerable women and girls from sexual exploitation."
A spokeswoman for campaign group Ending Victimisation & Blame said: "Failure to include compulsory statutory sex and relationships education in the school curriculum means young people have limited opportunity to learn about healthy relationships.
"We hope that the Government addresses the concerns as a result of the ONS statistics and that we see a determined effort towards eradicating violence against women, not just paying it lip service or using it as a political point-scoring opportunity."