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.



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