Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence
Signs of Abuse

The Facts About Domestic Violence

  • Estimates range from 960,000 to 3,000,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend per year who are physically abused.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women have been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
  • Nearly one-third of American women (31%) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
  • Nearly 25% of American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime
  • 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
  • In the year 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490 women) were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner.
  • Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women. In 2001, women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence (588,490 total) and men accounted for approximately 15% of the victims (103,220 total).
  • While women are less likely than men to be victims of violent crimes overall, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner.
  • In 2001, intimate partner violence made up 20% of violent crime against women. The same year, intimate partners committed 3% of all violent crime against men.
  • As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.
  • Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate.
  • Male violence against women does much more damage than female violence against men; women are much more likely to be injured than men.
  • The most rapid growth in domestic relations caseloads is occurring in domestic violence filings. Between 1993 and 1995, 18 of 32 states with three year filing figures reported an increase of 20% or more.
  • Women are 7 to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner.
  • On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner.
  • Women are much more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner. In 2000, intimate partner homicides accounted for 33.5% of the murders of women and less than 4% of the murders of men.
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to be victims of homicide than to die of any other cause, and evidence exists that a significant proportion of all female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners.
  • Research suggests that injury related deaths, including homicide and suicide, account for approximately one-third of all maternal mortality cases, while medical reasons make up the rest. But, homicide is the leading cause of death overall for pregnant women, followed by cancer, acute and chronic respiratory conditions, motor vehicle collisions and drug overdose, peripartum and postpartum cardiomyopthy, and suicide.
  • The health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking and homicide committed by intimate partners exceed $5.8 billion each year. Of that amount, nearly $4.1 billion are for direct medical and mental health care services, and nearly $1.8 billion are for the indirect costs of lost productivity or wages.
  • About half of all female victims of intimate violence report an injury of some type, and about 20% of them seek medical assistance.
  • 37% of women who sought treatment in emergency rooms for violence-related injuries in 1994 were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • 8% of high school age girls said when asked if a boyfriend or date has ever forced sex against your will answer yes.
  • 40% of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend
  • During the 1996-1997 school year, there were an estimated 4,000 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault in public schools across the country.
  • In a national survey of more than 6,000 American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.
  • Slightly more than half of female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under age 12
  • Studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
  • Three in four women (76%) who reported they had been raped and/or physically assaulted since age 18 said that a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date committed the assault
  • One in five (21%) women reported she had been raped or physically or sexually assaulted in her lifetime
  • Nearly one-fifth of women (18%) reported experiencing a completed or attempted rape at some time in their lives; one in 33 men (3%) reported experiencing a completed or attempted rape at some time in their lives
  • In 2000, 48% of the rapes/sexual assaults committed against people age 12 and over were reported to the police
  • In 2001, 41,740 women were victims of rape/sexual assault committed by an intimate partner
  • Rapes/sexual assaults committed by strangers are more likely to be reported to the police than rapes/sexual assaults committed by non-strangers, including intimate partners, other relatives and friends or acquaintances. Between 1992 and 2000, 41% of the rapes/sexual assaults committed by strangers were reported to the police. During the same time period, 24% of the rapes/sexual assaults committed by an intimate were reported.
  • Annually in the United States, 503,485 women are stalked by an intimate partner
  • 78% of stalking victims are women. Women are significantly more likely than men (60% and 30%, respectively) to be stalked by intimate partners
  • 80% of women who are stalked by former husbands are physically assaulted by that partner and 30% are sexually assaulted by that partner.
  • Boys Who Grow up with Abuse are:
    • 25 times more likely to commit rajpe as an adult
    • 4 times more likely to abuse while dating
    • 6 times more likely to commit suicide
    • 1000 times more likely to abuse their own children

Prevalence of Domestic Violence

Violence occurs behind closed doors, however a national random sample of households showed that almost 5% of American families experienced severe physical violence of a degree that had the statistical probability of inflicting serious injury or death upon the victim (stabbed, gun used, beat up, punched). In 1980 that figure equaled over two million persons per year. Current data suggests more than four million victims per year from domestic violence. However, if more common forms of violence are considered, such as slapping, scratching, punching, and shoving, then the estimate is 30% of American households experience DV. Such violence often accounts for 50% of calls to police on late-night shifts.

Information from the National Victimization Survey indicates that assault by a family member is more likely to cause injury than assault by a stranger: 23% of stranger assaults involved injury to victim, while 57% of spousal assaults involve such injury. 7% of stranger assaults require medical attention, while 24% of spousal assaults require such attention. Statistics for women who enter shelters showed woman's injuries included: black eyes, bruises, broken teeth, cracked ribs, broken nose, fractured jaw, gunshot wounds, and miscarriages due to violence.

A common stereotype is that battered women have many children. Information from women residing in Shelter Services for Women concluded that 79% had children, 21% did not. Of those women who had children, the average was 1-2 children per woman. The stereotype of a woman coming into the Shelter with 6 or 7 children does not hold true.

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