Cases of ‘Cinderella’ abuse by sisters and stepsisters have risen dramatically with attacks by women on family members rising twice as fast as those by men.
Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that domestic abuse offences committed by sisters on their siblings have more than doubled from 641 in 2010 to 1,325 in 2018.
And incidents of abuse by stepsisters and half-sisters has more than quadrupled from 33 to 142 in that time.
Instances of ‘Cinderella’ domestic abuse committed by sisters and stepsisters on their siblings has risen sharply over the past decade (stock image)
Such domestic abuse cases are known as ‘Cinderella’ incidents after the Disney character
In the Disney film, ‘ugly sisters’ Anastasia and Drizella treat Cinderella poorly
Female perpetrators now account for 28 per cent of cases, compared with 19 per cent a decade ago, though men are responsible for the majority of domestic violence incidents.
Instances of domestic abuse by a mother rose from 625 to 1,528 offences between 2010 and 2018, by a mother-in-law from 149 to 268, and by a stepmother from 31 to 64.
Abuse by daughters, stepdaughters and daughters-in-law also increased.
The figures come as Home Secretary Priti Patel launches a campaign called #YouAreNotAlone to support abuse victims following a rise in cases during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Research suggests sibling abuse is more common in dysfunctional or neglectful homes where parents fail to control behaviour.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched the #YouAreNotAlone campaign to help domestic abuse victims during the Covid-19 lockdown
Dr Jonathan Caspi, a clinical social worker, found that 60 per cent of children who witnessed abuse between their parents later acted it out on their siblings.
Yet sibling abuse is less likely to be reported because of fear of retaliation or because of the blurred line between abuse and ‘acceptable’ sibling aggression.
Dame Vera Baird, the victims’ commissioner, said: ‘Only a few years ago, the police and the public probably wouldn’t have considered assaults such as siblings on siblings as domestic abuse.
‘However, what we can see is that a lot of this type of inter-family abuse does occurs. I would encourage anyone who is experiencing this type of abuse to seek help and report it.’