Domestic violence has no preferences on race, color, religion, ethnicity, or gender. Domestic violence occurs in all socioeconomic statuses, within all races, colors, and/or ethnicities, among women and men, although most commonly to women by men. Domestic violence happens all over the world, in every possible country you can imagine. and amongst people of all religions. But in the United States, there are laws protecting both men and women from the horrors, the ravages, the destruction that goes along with domestic violence.
- Most domestic violence incidents are never reported to law enforcement
- Women ages 20-24 are most likely to become victims of domestic violence by either a husband or boyfriend
- Every year, one in three women who are victims of homicide are killed by an intimate partner or husband or an ex-partner or ex-boyfriend
- Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes each year by their partner, whether date, boyfriend, husband, or ex
- Domestic violence is most likely to occur between 6pm and 6am
- More than 60% of domestic violence incidents occur at home
- According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families
- Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Domestic violence contributes to poor health for many survivors. For example, chronic conditions like heart disease or gastrointestinal disorders can become more serious due to domestic violence, and mental issues
- The cost each year of domestic violence: law enforcement, mental health services, hospital and medical care services, legal work and productivity at work by injured victims
- 23.6% of women and 11.5% of men reported at least one lifetime episode of intimate-partner violence.
- In households with incomes under $15,000 per year, 35.5% of women and 20.7% of men suffered violence from an intimate partner.
- 43% of women and 26% of men in multiracial non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
- 39% of women and 18.6% of men in American Indian/Alaska Native households suffered partner violence.
- 26.8% of women and 15.5% of men in white non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
- 29.2% of women and 23.3% of men in black non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
- 20.5% of women and 15.5% of men in Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
(Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, February 8, 2008 Issue)
Types of Intimate Partner Violence
NIJ has often partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the issue of violence against women, in particular by cosponsoring the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS). The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which spotlights injury and violence prevention topics, defines four main types of intimate partner violence:
- Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force (e.g., shoving, choking, shaking, slapping, punching, burning, or use of a weapon, restraints, or one’s size and strength against another person) with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or physical harm.
- Sexual violence can be divided into three categories: (1) the use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act unwillingly, whether or not the act is completed; (2) an attempted or completed sexual act involving a person who, because of illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure, is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, decline participation, or communicate unwillingness to engage in the act; and (3) abusive sexual contact
- Threats of physical or sexual violence communicate the intent to cause death, disability, injury, or physical harm through the use of words, gestures, or weapons.
- Psychological/emotional violence traumatizes the victim by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics (e.g., humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information, isolating the victim from friends and family, denying access to money or other basic resources). In most cases, emotional violence has been preceded by acts or threats of physical or sexual violence.
* Personal safety and economic security are undoubtedly linked for victims of domestic violence. A very high percentage of victims of domestic abuse are concerned over their ability to provide for their children and as such is considered to be a very significant reason behind the victim’s inability to and/or lack of desire to leave or end a violent/abusive relationship or marriage
* 51.5% of domestic violence victims requested assistance with housing for themselves and their children, but were unable to receive it
* Nationwide, an average of 3 women victimized by domestic violence are murdered by their abuser every day
* Children exposed to violence are significantly more likely to attempt suicide, experiment with and/or abuse alcohol and drugs, run away from home, engage in prostitution and/or commit acts of sexual assault
* Domestic violence has been reported to cost employers in the United States approximately $13 billion each year; between one-quarter and one-half of female victims of domestic violence reported losing their job, at least in part, due to domestic violence experienced at home
Domestic Violence Mental Health Policy Initiative (DVMHPI) is a Chicago-based project founded in 1999 that works to address the unmet mental health needs of domestic violence survivors and their children and the traumatic effects of abuse across the lifespan.
- According to the National Center on DV, Trauma, & Mental Health, over half of the women seen in a mental health setting, regardless of the reason for the visit, report having been in an abusive relationship or marriage currently or in the past.
- Of those individuals currently living in an inpatient mental health facility, between 53% and 83% report that they have been in abusive relationships their entire lives as well as having a childhood filled with domestic violence in the home
- A 2007 study of people diagnosed with schizophrenia showed that 86% had experienced at least one adverse childhood advent, while 49% had reported three or more adverse childhood events.
- Over the past three decades, research documenting the effects of violence across the lifespan indicates that abuse, violence and
discrimination play a key role in many of the health and mental health problems experienced by women in the U.S. and throughout the World
- In a 2007 survey by Kimerling et.al. it was found that women who experienced physical or sexual assault as a child were six times more likely to experience domestic violence and/or assault in some form as adults
- The same study found that women who are considered low-income (those most likely to receive public aid and/or public health care and to have been seen in an intimate partner violence shelter at least once in their lives) have the highest rate of experiencing victimization throughout their lifetime
in regard to infant, child, and adolescent violence and abuse, the following was found by the National Center on DV, Trauma, and Mental Health:
- Painful, scary and overwhelming experiences such as community violence and domestic violence, profoundly affects the developmental growth of children of all ages. An example of something parents can watch for in their children is posttraumatic play, a kind of play
that some children engage in who have been exposed to trauma. Posttraumatic play is a repetitive reenactment of a traumatic experience
or event. One way to handle a situation such as this, is to talk to the child and listen to what they have to say, how they feel and offer reassurance to the child about what is happening and ensure them that they are safe and that the parents are working together to make sure that the family is safe. Encourage them to express their feelings in healthy ways, such as play and/or the use of art. Teach them how to name their feelings and understand what each feeling means.
- African-American women experience more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. However, Black and White women experience the same level of victimization in all other age categories
- Hispanic women are less likely to be victimized than are non-Hispanic women in all age groups
- Women are most vulnerable to violence when separated from their intimate partner. The second most vulnerable group are those who are divorced. This can discourage women from leaving their abusive partner, out of fear that it will increase their risk of victimization
- Only about 1 in 5 of domestic violence victims with physical injuries seek professional medical treatment..meaning that 4 in 5 victims with physical injuries due to domestic violence don’t seek medical treatment and simply live with the injuries
- The FBI reports that between 1976 and 1996, domestic violence claims the lives of more than four women each day
- Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African-American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police