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Domestic Violence


Domestic violence is the use of physical and/or emotional abuse by one person in a relationship to control the other. The relationship may be a marriage or casual and occurs in both heterosexual and gay relationships. Victims are often women.

Examples of domestic abuse include:

  • name-calling/putdowns
    not allowing a partner to have contact with their family or friends
  • preventing a partner from having a job or to engage in any activity outside of the home/relationship
  • physical abuse such as shoving, punching and/or kicking
  • sexual assault or rape
  • intimidation

Who are the victims?

  • Women were attacked six times more often by offenders with whom they had an intimate relationship with than were male violence victims.
  • Nearly 30 percent of all female homicidal victims were known to have been killed by their husbands, former husbands or boyfriends.
  • Husbands, former husbands, boyfriends, and ex-boyfriends committed more than one million violent acts against women.
  • Forty-five percent of all violent attacks against female victims 12 years old or older by multiple offenders involve offenders they know.
  • The rate of intimate-offender attacks on women separated from their husbands was about three times higher than that of divorced women about 25 times higher than that of married women.
  • Women of all races were equally vulnerable to attacks by intimates.

The facts of domestic violence:

  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S
  • Domestic violence does not occur only in poor urban areas. Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income levels and ages are battered.
  • In the U.S., 50 percent of homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home.


Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Report to the Nation on Crime and Justice, October 1983; Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991; Surgeon General, United States, 1992; March of Dimes, 1992; The Basics of Batterer Treatment, Common Purpose, Inc., Jamaica Plain, MA; Domestic Violence: Battered Women, Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, Mass.; Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992; U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System, 1991; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence





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