Domestic Violence: Disturbing Facts about Domestic Violence
The statistics below are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey. Single copies may be obtained from:
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- Every year, in the United States there are over 3 million incidents of reported domestic violence. Every year, 4,000 victims of domestic violence are killed. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 95% of assaults on spouses or ex-spouses are committed by men against women. Nearly one-third of the women who seek care from hospital emergency rooms are there for injuries resulting from domestic violence.
- Women were attacked about six times more often by offenders with whom they had an intimate relationship than were male violence victims.
- During each year women were the victims of more than 4.5 million violent crimes, including approximately 500,000 rapes or other sexual assaults. In 29 percent of the violent crimes against women by lone offenders the perpetrators were intimates —husbands, former husbands, boyfriends or former boyfriends.
- The victim’s friends or acquaintances committed more than half of the rapes and sexual assaults, intimates committed 26 percent, and strangers were responsible for about one in five.
- Forty-five percent of all violent attacks against female victims 12 years old and older by multiple offenders also involved offenders they knew.
- During 1992 approximately 28 percent of female homicide victims (1,414 women) were known to have been killed by their husbands, former husbands or boyfriends. In contrast, just over 3 percent of male homicide victims (637) were known to have been killed by their wives, former wives or girlfriends.
- Men, however, were more likely than women to experience violent crimes committed by both acquaintances and strangers. In fact, men were about twice as likely as women to experience acts of violence by strangers.
- About a fifth of the lone-offender attacks against women involved a weapon. Strangers used weapons 30 percent of the time, compared to 18 percent for intimates. However, women were injured by intimates in 52 percent of the attacks, compared to 20 percent of the attacks by strangers.
- Women from 15 to 44 years old were more likely than women of other ages to be victimized by an intimate. Also, the rate of intimate-offender attacks on women separated from their husbands was about three times higher than that of divorced women and about 25 times higher than that of married women. However, because the survey records a respondent’s marital status only at the time of the interview, it is possible in some instances that separation or divorce followed the violence.
- Women of all races were about equally vulnerable to attacks by intimates. However, women in families with incomes below $10,000 per year were more likely than other women to be violently attacked by an intimate.
- Battered women seek medical attention for injuries sustained as a consequence of domestic violence significantly more often after separation than during cohabitation. About 75 percent of the visits to emergency rooms by battered women occur after separation. About 75 percent of the calls to law enforcement for intervention and assistance in domestic violence occur after separation from batterers.
- Twenty years ago, the first battered women’s shelter in the United States, Women’s Advocates, was opened in St. Paul, Minnesota. This program is still in existence today.
- Each year, medical expenses from domestic violence total at least $3 to $5 billion. Businesses forfeit another $100 million in lost wages, sick leave, absenteeism and non-productivity.
- It is estimated that 25 percent of workplace problems such as absenteeism, lower productivity, turnover and excessive use of medical benefits are due to family violence.
- Violence is the reason stated for divorce in 22 percent of middle-class marriages.
- Fifty-three percent of battered women still involved with the perpetrator experienced self-blame for causing the violence.
- Estimating rates of violence against women, especially sexual assault and other incidents committed by intimate offenders, continues to be a difficult task. Many factors inhibit women from reporting these crimes either to police or to government interviewers. The private nature of the event, the perceived stigma and the belief that no purpose would be served in reporting the crime keeps an unknown portion of the victims from talking about the event.