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Domestic Violence

Statistics on Domestic Violence in the United States

updated for 2009

By Staff Writer


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Below are a series of disturbing statistics from various sources about the plague of domestic violence that continues to make millions of women, children and men suffer in America.

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

  • Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

Homicide and injury

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, on average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

Of all the murders of females in 2002, family members were responsible for 43%.

Eight in ten murderers who killed a family member were male. Males were 83% of spouse murderers.

Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

Effects on children

It is estimated that anywhere between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.

Research demonstrates that exposure to violence can have serious negative effects on children's development. Witnessing violence between one�s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

Thirty to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children.

Economic fallout

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.

There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion.

Some abusive partners may try to stop women from working by calling them frequently during the day or coming to their place of work unannounced. Research indicates that about 50 percent of battered women who are employed are harassed at work by their abusive partners.

Protection orders

Approximately one-half of the orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated.1 More than two-thirds of the restraining orders against intimate partners who raped or stalked the victim were violated.

More facts and statistics

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

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)

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.)

Sources of statistics

National Coalition against Domestic Violence

American Bar Association

Domestic Violence Resource Center

U.S. Gen. Accounting Office, GAO/HEHS-99-12, Domestic Violence: Prevalence and Implications for Employment Among Welfare Recipients (1998) .

Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005),

Sharmila Lawrence, National Center for Children in Poverty, Domestic Violence and Welfare Policy: Research Findings That Can Inform Policies on Marriage and Child Well-Being 5 (2002).

Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence statistics, June 2005

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.



Your Comments

Kim, Miami - wrote on 10/18/2011 11:03:53 AM
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Comment: The article is very thorough and it helped with my paper on domestic violence


Terry L. Billings, Newnan,ga - wrote on 8/25/2011 10:08:27 PM
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Comment: 92% of men do not report Domestic Violance! Police and Women Shelters distort facts. Women took over Work Force in U.S. More Women work out today! ERA Judges are a disgrace. Our biggest problem, We are not taught about Domestic Violance or Abuse. Elementry,Middle School,High School, College!! Where do. We put it! Marriage lIcense ???? Women abuse Domestic Violance. Women with children are worse! Study Domestic Abuse. Both parties should be bought in. Take full body pictures. Women and Men physical aggression is different. A Chonic Abuser preplan attacks. Violent abusers carefully aim their kicks and punches where the bruises marks won't show. Example: Hit the hair that cover your head. Again, Study Abuse and Domestic Violance!! Thank you


Linda , Vista - wrote on 5/10/2011 11:48:28 PM
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Comment: Women do fight. You're right. DV is never right I don't care who pushed whomever's buttons. Having been on both sides of this issue I wish people would understand that women are usually the ones who end up on the short end of the stick. My brother promised to kill me twice in one day and the sheriff's dept tried to pass it off as an arguement. He ripped the phone cord out of the wall, trapped me behind the table and before all that he made an attempt to hit me by taking a round-house swing at me. He curled his fist into a ball and stopped just short of hitting me. Let me tell you this isn't the first time he has done this. He has put his hands on me when he was living me a number of years ago also. As kids he constantly beat me up because I would refuse to cook dinner or some such. Did my parents do anything about him: answer no! He is still just as bad now as he was then. It is not always the women who is at fault. But we sure take the heat.


lynn, malakoff - wrote on 5/2/2011 10:37:40 PM
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Comment: but once you get out, so do they ! the problem is they are the man or woman but man in my case can bond out. he came right to me after he bonded out epo was in force. had it not been for my catahoola, oh lord no telling what would have happened. he was out back my home, in a barn! and taken back to jail, 2 days later bonded out again! how many deaths does it take to get the (bond out) not! in assault cases, or make it 1million dollars to do so. I don;t know. i just know i am alive today. but the woman he married was found dead. and he is still waling around.


mom, anywhere - wrote on 2/21/2011 1:43:50 PM
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Comment: This article fails to stipulate how many mothers are killed by a child - adult or juvenile. Look at the news - boy kills mom over chores; boy kills mom over xbox; boy kills mom for life insurance money so he can go to college; teenage daughter kills mom and runs to FL; goes on and on everyday in the good ole USA!


Leil, dallas - wrote on 2/11/2011 8:42:53 PM
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Comment: why don't you all tell the truth and elimate the gender bias. women fight too. they just dont hit as hard. some women are buttom pushers and wont leave the man alone until something happens. when the man get physical they want to dial 911. The problem is usually both parties have issues that lead to the violence. if you make both the man and women take abuse counseling domestic abuse will decline


Leil, dallas - wrote on 2/11/2011 8:42:24 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: why don't you all tell the truth and elimate the gender bias. women fight too. they just dont hit as hard. some women are buttom pushers and wont leave the man alone until something happens. when the man get physical they want to dial 911. The problem is usually both parties have issues that lead to the violence. if you make both the man and women take abuse counseling domestic abuse will decline


Leil, dallas - wrote on 2/11/2011 8:41:59 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: why don't you all tell the truth and elimate the gender bias. women fight too. they just dont hit as hard. some women are buttom pushers and wont leave the man alone until something happens. when the man get physical they want to dial 911. The problem is usually both parties have issues that lead to the violence. if you make both the man and women take abuse counseling domestic abuse will decline


Karen Smith, Franklin, NC - wrote on 2/1/2011 1:33:23 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: Information is out of date


Karen Smith, Franklin, NC - wrote on 2/1/2011 1:32:22 PM
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Comment: Information on this page is woefully out of date


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