The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported 691,710 nonfatal violent victimizations committed by current or former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends of the victims during 2001. About 588,490, or 85% of intimate partner violence incidents, involved women. One of every five crimes against women was of this nature - compared to only 3% of crimes committed against men.
Intimate partner violence against women declined by half between 1993 (1.1 million nonfatal cases) and 2001 (588,490) - from 9.8 to 5 per thousand women. Intimate partner violence against men also declined from 162,870 (1993) to 103,220 (2001) - from 1.6 to 0.9 per 1000 males. Overall, the incidence of such crimes dropped from 5.8 to 3.0 per thousand.
Still, 1247 women and 440 men were murdered by an intimate partner in the United States in 2000. The comparative figures in 1976 were 1357 men and 1600 women. It declined to around 1300 in 1993. So, while the number overall intimate partner crimes directed at women declined sharply - the number of fatal incidents remained stable since 1993.
And the figures mask a difficult cumulative picture:
One in four to one in three women have been assaulted or raped at a given point in her lifetime (Commonwealth Fund survey, 1998).
The Mental Health Journal says:
"The precise incidence of domestic violence in America is difficult to determine for several reasons: it often goes unreported, even on surveys; there is no nationwide organization that gathers information from local police departments about the number of substantiated reports and calls; and there is disagreement about what should be included in the definition of domestic violence."
Using a different methodology (counting separately multiple incidents perpetrated on the same woman), a report titled "Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey", compiled by Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes for the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and published in 1998, concluded that there were 5.9 million physical assaults against 1.5 million targets in the USA annually.
According to the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project, and Neil Websdale, Understanding Domestic Homicide, Northeastern University Press, 1999 - half of these crimes were committed against women in the process of separation or divorce. In Florida the figure is even higher (60%).
Only 4% of hospital emergency room admissions of women in the United States are attributed by staff to domestic violence. The true figure, according to the FBI, is more like 50%. Michael R. Rand in "Violence-related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments", published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 1997 puts the number at 37%. One in three murdered women was done in by her spouse, current or former.
The US Department of Justice pegs the number of spouses (mostly women) threatened with a deadly weapon at almost 2 million annually. Domestic violence erupts in one half of all American homes at least once a year.
One half of wife-batterers also regularly assault and abuse their children, according to M. Straus, R. Gelles, and C. Smith, "Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families, 1990 and U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, A Nation's Shame: Fatal child abuse and neglect in the United States: Fifth report, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 1995
"Black females experienced domestic violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Black males experienced domestic violence at a rate about 62% higher than that of white males and about 22 times the rate of men of other races." - Rennison, M. and W. Welchans. Intimate Partner Violence. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. May 2000, NCJ 178247, Revised 7/14/00
The young, the poor, minorities, divorced, separated, and singles were most likely to experience domestic violence and abuse.
1. http://www.wscadv.org - The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Domestic Violence Statistics