Domestic Violence Rate Plunges

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows a steep decline in the rate of domestic violence over the past two decades. In fact, the rate fell by more than half.


In an average of the two years ending in 1994, there were 13.5 cases of domestic violence per 1,000 persons aged 12 and over. By the two years ending in 2012, the average had been cut to 5.0 cases per 1,000.


The most prevalent type of violence was that of one intimate partner committing violence on the other. Other domestic violence was that of immediate family members, that is violence among parents and children or sibling-on-sibling violence.


The steepest drop in domestic violence occurred between 1995 and 2001, when the rate fell from 13.2 per thousand to 6.2 per thousand in just six years. The steepest decline came in the rate of partner violence; that figure went from 9.8 incidents per thousand in 1994 to 4.4 per thousand in 2001.


As might be expected, females were predominately the victims of domestic violence. For all types of domestic violence, 76% of victims were female. An even larger majority of partner violence victims, 82%, were women. The numbers were more even for violence among immediate family members. In those cases, 60% of the victims were female.


Just more than half the domestic violence cases were reported to police and 77% of violence happened at the victim’s home. In general, 65% of violent crime against females was committed by someone the victim knew, while only 34% of violent crimes against males were perpetrated by someone known to the victim.


In intimate partner violence, the highest percentage of cases came between boyfriend and girlfriend, as opposed to spousal violence or incidents between ex-spouses. Also, intimate partner violence was more likely to result in injury (48%) than violence among immediate family members (37%).


The study offered no reason for the sharp decline in domestic violence.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003–2012 (by Jennifer L. Truman and Rachel E. Morgan, Bureau of Justice Statistics) (pdf)


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