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Domestic Violence Statistics


  • A woman is physically assaulted within her home every 15 seconds. Nearly 6 million women will be battered in any single year, and more than 25% of adult women in this country are likely to be victimized during an intimate relationship.
  • Battery is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding street rape, muggings, or auto accident. Some 2,000 to 4,000 women are beaten to death annually.
  • 95% of batterers are men. In heterosexual partner abuse, 95% of the time it is the woman who gets hurt. Battering does occur in lesbian and gay relationships, but no reliable statistics are available about its prevalence. Battering happens in dating relationships -- not just when the couple is married, living together, or having sex.
  • At least half of the children of battered women are physically or sexually abused by their mother's assailant. 68% of children witness the assaults; more than 90 % know about the assaults.
  • In this country, a women's chances of being assaulted at home by her partner are greater than those of a police officer being assaulted on the job.
  • In the United States, 3,000 women are killed each year by their husbands, lovers or boyfriends.
  • Women are in greater danger when they are trying to leave their batterers. Homicides often occur after the woman has left her assailant. 70% of all violence occurs after the woman has left her assailant.
  • Women perpetrate less than 15% of all homicides. Homicides committed by women are seven times more likely to be in self-defense as homicides committed by men.
  • Battering cuts across racial and socio-economic lines. It occurs in middle class and upper class homes, as well as in working class and poor families.
  • One out of every three girls and one out of every eight boys will be sexually abused by an adult before they reach the age of 18. Nine out of ten times the perpetrator will be someone the child knows.
  • One out of 7 wives is raped by her husband. At least 40% of physically battered women are also sexually abused.
  • More than one million abused women seek medical help for injuries caused by battering each year. Twenty percent of visits by women to emergency services are due to domestic violence. Half of all battered women will be beaten in their stomachs when they are pregnant.
  • At least half of the time, the perpetrator of domestic violence has an alcohol or other drug problem. Injuries to the woman are likely to be more serious when the perpetrator is using alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol and other drug addiction does not cause domestic violence; the problems must be addressed separately. Stopping the assailants' drinking will not stop their violence.
  • The F.B.I. estimates that only 10% of domestic assaults are reported.
  • Battering is not caused by stress, unemployment, addiction, poor impulse control or childhood victimization. Violence is a behavioral choice made by one partner to control the other.
  • Battering is the single major cause of injury to women--more frequent than auto accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
  • Studies have estimated 3 to 4 million American women are battered each year by their husbands or partners. Nearly 6 million U.S. wives are physically abused by their husbands or boy friends during their marriage. Nationally, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds.
  • Sixty-six percent of American women will be beaten at least once during their marriage. 25% of U.S. wives are severely beaten during the course of their marriage. 75% of women who are battered are divorced or separated from their abusers at the time of the incident.
  • Domestic violence occurs among rural, urban, and suburban women of all ages, ethnic, racial, religious, educational, and socio-economic groups. Approximately 95% of the victims of domestic violence are women.
  • In one state study (Minnesota), 63,000 women are abused each year. In Minnesota, there were 18 women killed in 1989; 25 women were killed in 1990.

Physical and Mental Health Statistics

  • Twenty-two percent to 35% of all Emergency Room visits by women are related to battering.
  • Between 25% and 45% of battered women are abused during pregnancy. A battered pregnant woman is 4 times more likely to have a low-birth weight baby and her chances of miscarriage are double.
  • Thirty-three percent of battered women carry a diagnosis/treatment protocol associated with anxiety and depression. 26% of all women who attempt to commit suicide are victims of domestic violence.
  • Sixty-four percent of hospitalized female psychiatric patients have a history of being physically abused as an adult.

Domestic Abuse—The Generational Impact

  • Boys who witness domestic violence are more likely to batter their female partners as adults than boys raised in nonviolent homes. Of the children who witness domestic abuse, 60% of the boys eventually become batterers.
  • Sixty-three percent of boys age 11-20 who commit homicide, murder the man who was abusing their mother. In 50% of the time, if the wife (mother) is being physically abused, so are the children.

Health Care and Productivity Costs

  • Data analyzed from the National Crime Survey (1980) of 192,000 assaults in one year resulted in : 39,900 visits to physicians, 21,000 hospitalizations, 99,800 days of hospitalization, and 28,799 emergency department visits. This data revealed Total Annual Health Care Costs of approximately $44.4 million with indirect costs of 175,500 lost days from paid work.
  • Each year, more than one million women seek medical assistance for injuries caused by battering.

By Amy Coha, 1993

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