Scary Numbers

Domestic Violence Facts & Statistics

  • More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) in the U.S. having experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Source

  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Source

  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women. Source

  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew. Source

  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Source

  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. Source Frieze, I.H., Browne, A. (1989) Violence in Marriage.

  • Those who have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner report at least one impact related to experiencing these or other forms of violent behavior in the relationship (e.g., being fearful, concerned for safety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, need for health care, injury, contacting a crisis hotline, need for housing services, need for victim’s advocate services, need for legal services, missed at least one day of work or school). Source

  • Nearly half of all women in U.S. (48.4%) have experienced at least one form of psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime, with 40.3% reporting some form of expressive aggression (e.g., their partner acted angry in a way that seemed dangerous, told them they were a loser or a failure, insulted or humiliated them), or some form of coercive control (41.1%) by an intimate partner. Source

  • The majority of women (70.8%) who have experienced intimate partner violence said it was by one partner, while 20.9% were victimized by two partners and 8.3% were victimized by three or more partners. Source

  • The most common age when intimate partner violence is first experienced by women is age 18-24 (38.6%), followed by age 11-17 (22.4%), age 35-44 (6.8%) and age 45+ (2.5%). Source

  • Among victims of intimate partner violence, 84% of female victims disclosed their victimization to someone, primarily a friend or family member. Only 21% of female victims disclosed their victimization to a doctor or nurse at some point in their lifetime. Source

Sexual Assault & Stalking

  • One in 6 women have experienced an attempted or completed rape. Source

  • Approximately 1 in 6 women (16.9%) has experienced sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner in her lifetime; this includes sexual coercion (9.8%), unwanted sexual contact (6.4%) and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences (7.8%). Source

  • Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Source

  • Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of battering relationships. Source

  • More than one in 10 women (10.7%) have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Source

  • 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner; 31% are also sexually assaulted by that partner. Source

  • More than three-quarters of the women who report being stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime received unwanted phone calls or text messages (77.4%), unwanted visits at home, work or school (64.8%), and 37.4% report being watched or followed by a current or former intimate partner. Source

  • 76% of female homicide victims had been stalked by the person who killed them; 54% of the victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers; and 89% of the victims who had been physically abused had also been stalked in the 12 months before the murder. Source

Predictive Indicators of Domestic Violence

  • Couples who report feeling high levels of financial strain are three and a half times more likely to be involved in domestic violence compared to couples who report feeling low levels of financial strain. Source

  • 72% of batterers convicted on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge had a prior criminal arrest history – (59%) felony arrests, (44%) drug possession/sale arrests, (38%) assault arrests, (35%) gun/weapon arrests – averaging 5.5 prior arrests and 4.9 prior convictions. Source

Psychological Aggression & Domestic Violence

  • For women the next most common forms of psychological aggression by an intimate partner are “insulted, humiliated, made fun of” (58.0%), “acted very angry in a way that seemed dangerous” (57.9%), “told they were a loser, not good enough” (48.9%) and “made threats to physical harm” (45.5%). Source

  • The most common form of psychological aggression by an intimate partner that is experienced by male and female victims differs. For women it is being called names (like ugly, fat, stupid) (64.3%) and for men it is having one’s whereabouts tracked (63.1%). Source

  • Of batterers convicted on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, 31% were arrested again within a year of being released and 44% were arrested again within two years of being released; in both instances the most common re-arrest was for felony assault. Source

  • 56% of men that entered a court-referred batterer treatment program appeared to have alcoholic tendencies and 25% showed evidence of a severe personality disorders (shizotypal, borderline, or paranoid) or major mental disorders such as depression; one-third received previous treatment for mental health or substance abuse. Source

  • Of the men in the court-referred batterer treatment program, a substantial number possessed a disposition that did not conform to the common “abusive personality" stereotype, but instead were less pathological with personality traits such as being narcissistic (25%), passive-aggressive (24%), anti-social (19%), and depressive (19%). Source

  • The risk of perpetrating intimate partner violence as an adult is two times greater for those who were abused or witnessed their mother being abused during their own childhood. Source

  • Intimate partner violence against female partners was two to four times higher among men with alcohol problems than among men without alcohol problems; the factor was two times higher when considering violence against male partners by females with alcohol problems. Source

Demographics & Domestic Violence

  • Approximately 4 out of every 10 non-Hispanic Black women (43.7%), 4 out of every 10 American Indian or Alaska Native women (46.0%), and 1 in 2 multiracial non-Hispanic women (53.8%) have been the victim of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. These rates are 30%-50% higher than those experienced by Hispanic, White non-Hispanic women and Asian or Pacific non-Hispanic women. Source

  • The higher prevalence of intimate partner violence among ethnic minorities cannot be explained by any single factor, but seems to be related to risk factors such as substance abuse, unemployment, education, cohabitation of unmarried partners, pregnancy, income. Source

  • Most studies agree the majority of domestic violence perpetrators that come to the attention of criminal justice or court authorities have a prior criminal history for a variety of nonviolent and violent offenses against males as well as females, and of a domestic or nondomestic nature. Source

  • 44% percent of lesbian women and 61% of bisexual women – compared to 35% of heterosexual women – experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Source

Law Enforcement, Justice System & Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence related police calls have been found to constitute the single largest category of calls received by police, accounting for 15 to more than 50 percent of all calls. Source

  • Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. Source

  • Only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police. Source

  • Intimate partner assault is not reported to police most often for the following reasons: “police couldn’t do anything”, “police didn’t believe me”, “wanted to protect attacker, relationship or children” and “didn’t want police or court involvement.” Source

  • Approximately 20% of the 1.5 million people who experience intimate partner violence annually obtain civil protection orders. Source

  • Approximately one-half of the restraining orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated. Source

  • More than two-thirds of the restraining orders against intimate partners who raped or stalked the victim were violated. Source

  • There is a 21% chance of an escalation in violent behavior after a protection order is issued. Source

Guns & Domestic Violence

  • The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. Source

  • More than half of women murdered with guns in the U.S. in 2011 were killed by intimate partners or family members. Source

  • In recent decades, more intimate partner homicides have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined. Source

  • In states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are 38 percent fewer women shot to death by intimate partners. Source

  • U.S. federal laws prohibiting domestic abusers from buying or owning guns do not apply to dangerous people convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses or to dating partners, even though more women in the U.S. are killed by their dating partners than by their spouses. Source

  • Nearly two-thirds (64.7%) of women in shelter who reported the presence of a gun in their household said that a gun was used by their partner as a tool to scare, threaten or harm. Source