Domestic Violence Statistics

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any
relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control
over another intimate partner.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or
psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This
includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten,
terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair-
pulling, biting, etc. Physical abuse also includes denying a partner medical
care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.

Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact
or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly
not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing
sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually
demeaning manner.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/
or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism,
diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship
with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially
dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources,
withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at
school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical
harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of
pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/
or work.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual
orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all
socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs
in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate
partners who are married, living together, or dating.

Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a

substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and
the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence,
are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence
in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical
problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore,
increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and

Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of
Crime, and
National Statistics

• One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

(The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice,

Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July 2000. The
Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of
Women’s Health, 1999)

• Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse,
boyfriend, or girlfriend to 3 million women who are physically abused by their husband
or boyfriend per year.
(U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes
by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, March 1998. The
Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of
Women’s Health, 1999)

• Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for
approximately 15%.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001,
February 2003)

• Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and
between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the
(Rennison, C. (2003, Feb). Intimate partner violence. Us. Dpt. of Justice/Office of
Justice Programs. NXJ 197838.
Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families. New
Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.
Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner
violence. National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867.)

• Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• Between 1993 and 2004, intimate partner violence on average made up 22% of nonfatal
intimate partner victimizations against women. The same year, intimate partners
committed 3% of all violent crime against men.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• Separated and divorced males and females are at a greater risk of nonfatal intimate
partner violence.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned
Survey, August 1995)

• Average annual rates of intimate partner victimization between 1994 and 2004 are approximately the same for non-Hispanic and Hispanic females and males.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• Intimate partner violence affects people regardless of income. However, people with
lower annual income (below $25K) are at a 3-times higher risk of intimate partner
violence than people with higher annual income (over $50K).*
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
*Please note that those with less resources are more likely to report incidents of violence

• On average between 1993 and 2004, residents of urban areas experienced highest level
of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Residents in suburban and rural areas were equally
likely to experience such violence, about 20% less than those in urban areas.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• Nearly 2.2 million people called a domestic violence crisis or hot line in 2004 to escape
crisis situations, seek advice, or assist someone they thought might be victims.
(National Network to End Domestic Violence)

• Studies show that access to shelter services leads to a 60-70% reduction in incidence and
severity of re-assault during the 3-12 months’ follow up period compared to women who
did not access shelter. Shelter services led to greater reduction in severe re-assault than
did seeking court or law enforcement protection, or moving to a new location.
(Campbell, JC, PhD, RN, FAAN. Anna D. Wolf, Johns Hopkins University School of
Nursing, Protective Action and Re-assault: Findings from the RAVE study.)

• Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has
been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has
been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
(Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006. Lieberman Research
Inc., Tracking Survey conducted for The Advertising Council and the Family Violence
Prevention Fund, July – October 1996)

Domestic violence homicides

• On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners
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. Intimate partner homicides
accounted for 30% of the murders of women and 5% percent of the murders of men.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001,
February 2003. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-
2004, 2006.)

• Most intimate partner homicides occur between spouses, though boyfriends/girlfriends
have committed about the same number of homicides in recent years.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• The health-related costs of intimate partner violence 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.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against
Women in the United States, April 2003.)

• About half of all female victims of intimate violence report an injury of some type, and about 20 percent of them seek medical assistance.

(National Crime Victimization Survey, 1992-96; Study of Injured Victims of Violence,

• Thirty-seven percent of women who sought treatment in emergency rooms for violence-
related injuries in 1994 were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or
(U.S. Department of Justice, Violence Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency
Departments, 1997)

Dating violence

• Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or
sexually abused by a dating partner.
(Jay G. Silverman, PhD; Anita Raj, PhD; Lorelei A. Mucci, MPH; and Jeanne E.
Hathaway, MD, MPH, “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated
Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and
Suicidality,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286, No. 5, 2001)

• Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or
beaten by a boyfriend.
(Children Now/Kaiser Permanente poll, December 1995)

• One in five teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed
by a partner. 14% of teens report their boyfriend or girlfriend threatened to harm them
or themselves to avoid a breakup. Many studies indicate that as a dating relationship
becomes more serious, the potential for and nature of violent behavior also escalates.
(Information provided by Oregon Law Center.)

• Date rape accounts for almost 70% of sexual assaults reported by adolescent and college
age women; 38% of those women are between 14 and 17 years old.
(Information provided by Oregon Law Center.)

Domestic violence and children

• In a national survey of American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their
wives also frequently abused their children.
(Strauss, Murray A, Gelles, Richard J., and Smith, Christine. 1990. Physical Violence in
American Families; Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families. New
Brunswick: Transaction Publishers)

• On average between 1993 and 2004, children under age 12 were residents of households
experiencing intimate partner violence in 43% of incidents involving female victims and
25% of incidents involving male victims.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• Studies suggest that between 3.3 – 10 million children witness some form of domestic
violence annually.
(Carlson, Bonnie E. (1984). Children’s observations of interpersonal violence. Pp.
147-167 in A.R. Roberts (Ed.) Battered women and their families (pp. 147-167).
NY: Springer. Straus, M.A. (1992). Children as witnesses to marital violence: A risk factor for lifelong problems among a nationally representative sample of American men and women. Report of the Twenty-Third Ross Roundtable. Columbus, OH: Ross Laboratories.)

Domestic violence and male victims

• Due to cultural norms that require men to present a strong façade and that minimize
female-perpetrated abuse (Mooney, 2000; Straus et al, 1997; Sorenson & Taylor, 2005),
men are less likely to verbalize fear of any kind. (Dutton & Nicholls, 2005; Hines et al, in
(Dutton, D., & Nicholls, T. (2005). A critical review of the gender paradigm in domestic
violence research and theory: Part I – Theory and data. Aggression and Violent Behavior,
10, 680-714.

• Individuals who are controlling of their partners are much more likely to also be
physically assaultive, and this holds equally for both male and female perpetrators.
(Felson, R., & Outlaw, M. (2007). The control motive and marital violence. Violence
and Victims, 22 (4), 387-407.
Graham-Kevan, N. (2007). Men’s and women’s use of intimate partner violence:
Implications for treatment programs. Presented July 9, 2007 at the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.)

• Societal norms support female-perpetrated abuse in the home. (Straus et al., 1997; Straus,
(Straus, M. (1999). The controversy over domestic violence by women. In X. Arriaga &
S. Oskamp (Eds.), Violence in intimate relationships (pp. 17-44).)

• Surveys find that men and women assault one another and strike the first blow at
approximately equal rates.
(Archer, J. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126 (5), 651-680. Dutton, D., Kwong, M., & Bartholomew, K. (1999). Gender differences in patterns of relationship violence in Alberta. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 31, 150-160 Morse, B. (1995). Beyond the Conflict Tactics Scale: Assessing gender differences in partner violence. Violence and Victims, 10 (4), 251-269. Straus, M. (1993). Physical assaults by wives: A major social problem. In R. Gelles & D. Loseky (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence (pp. 67-87). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.)

• Men and women engage in overall comparable levels of abuse and control, such
as diminishing the partner’s self-esteem, isolation and jealousy, using children and
economic abuse; however, men engage in higher levels of sexual coercion and can more
easily intimidate physically.
(Coker, A, Davis, K., Arias, I., Desai, S., Sanderson, M., Brandt, H., & Smith, P. (2002).
Physical and mental health effects of intimate partner violence for men and women.
American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 23 (4), 260-268.
Hammock, G., & O’Hearn, R. (2002). Psychological aggression in dating relationships:
Predictive models for male and females. Violence and Victims, 17, 525-540.)

Rape / sexual assault

• Three in four women (76%) who reported they had been raped and/or physically assaulted since age 18 said that an intimate partner (current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date) committed the assault. (U.S. Department of Justice, Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November 1998)

• One in five (21%) women reported she had been raped or physically or sexually assaulted
in her lifetime.
(The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey
of Women’s Health, 1999)


• Annually in the United States, 503,485 women are stalked by an intimate partner.
(Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate
Partner Violence, National Institute of Justice, 2000)

• One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime, for an average
duration of almost two years
(Tjaden and Thoennes, “Stalking in America,” Washington, DC: National Institute of
Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, 1998)

• Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women. Women are significantly more
likely than men (60 percent and 30 percent, respectively) to be stalked by intimate
(Center for Policy Research, Stalking in America, July 1997)

• Eighty percent of women who are stalked by former husbands are physically assaulted by
that partner and 30 percent are sexually assaulted by that partner.
(Center for Policy Research, Stalking in America, July 1997)

• Victims may experience psychological trauma, financial hardship, and even death.
(Mullen, Pathe, and Purcell, Stalkers and Their Victims, New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2000)

• Seventy-six percent of female homicide victims were stalked prior to their death.
(MacFarlane et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4
(1998): 300-16)

Victim assistance and law enforcement

• On average, 21% of female victims and 10% of male victims of nonfatal partner violence
contact an outside agency for assistance. Of those females and males contacting an
outside agency, 45% contact a private agency.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

• On average, only 70% of nonfatal partner violence is reported to law enforcement.
Of those not reporting, 41% of male and 27% of female victims (34% average) stated
victimization being a private/personal matter as reason for not reporting, 15% of women
feared reprisal, 12% of all victims wished to protect the offender, and 6% of all victims
believed police would do nothing.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)

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