What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior directed at a former or current partner, spouse, or boyfriend or girlfriend. The abuser uses fear, manipulation, and intimidation to gain power and control over the other person. The abuse can take many forms, including physical batteringemotional abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse, and may involve using children, petsthreats, intimidation, and isolation.

Emotional abuse means intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions or behaviors of the spouse through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of the individual. (“Five Year State Master Plan for the Prevention of and Service for Domestic Violence.” Utah State Department of Human Services, January 1994)

Domestic violence affects all types of people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual identity, socio-economic status, and religion. It is also called intimate partner abuse, family violence, battering, elder abuse, teen relationship abuse, domestic battery, and confinement.

Domestic violence is the most under reported crime in America.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States; more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (“Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p. 3)

One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States.  (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991)

About 1 out of 4 women are likely to be abused by a partner in her lifetime. (Sara Glazer, “Violence, Against Women” CO Researcher, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Volume 3, Number 8, February, 1993, p. 171.; CDC, 2000)

Approximately 85% (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, Feb. 2003) of the victims of domestic violence are women. (Statistics, National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, Ruth Peachey, M.D. 1988) Abuse occurs among people of all races, ages, socio-economic classes, religious affiliations, occupations, and educational backgrounds.

Fifty percent of all homeless women and children in this country are fleeing domestic violence. (Senator Joseph Biden,U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System, 1991)

A battering incident is rarely an isolated event. Battering tends to increase and become more violent over time.

Many abusers learned violent behavior growing up in an abusive family.

25% – 45% of all women who are battered are battered during pregnancy.

Domestic violence does not end immediately with separation. Over 70% of the women injured in domestic violence cases are injured after separation.

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.

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.)