Statistics quoted by charities should always be checked. As organisations they may seem too well-meaning to misrepresent anything, but a charity’s income depends on making a problem appear serious and growing.

For example, last week the charity Refuge chose to “reveal” that the number of women killed in domestic violence incidents had increased from 72 in 2008 to 101 in 2009. Was this true, and is so, was it meaningful?

The actual data since 1998-99, tabulated below, show the numbers of women killed by a partner or ex-partner for every year since 1998-99: