Domestic violence is a public health issue impacting families and communities everyday. Below are some facts and statistics to help illustrate the scope of this serious issue.
Two notes: the published studies cited below rely heavily on reports of violence. Because survivors face numerous barriers to reporting harm or accessing services, actual incidences of domestic violence are likely much higher. Language below mirrors the language used in the source material.
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- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. For trans or gender non-conforming folks, this number jumps to 54% (National Center for Transgender Equality).
- 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the U.S. are victims of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
- It takes an average of 7 attempts for a survivor to leave their abuser and stay separated for good. Leaving is the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship.
- Each day in the US, three women are murdered by current or former intimate partner (Bureau of Justice Statistics).
- 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Over half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner (CDC).
- In 2019, there were 28 domestic violence homicides in Massachusetts (Jane Doe Inc.).
- From 2010-2014, 22% of law enforcement officer “line of duty” deaths occurred while responding to a call for service involving a domestic dispute (US Department of Justice).
Beyond physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death, domestic violence impacts the lives of survivors in many ways.
- More than 50% of requests for services made by survivors in the US that cannot be met are for housing and safe shelter (NNEDV).
- 38% of all victims of domestic violence will be homeless at some point in their lives (NNEDV).
- More than 80% of survivors of intimate partner violence report that their abusive partners disrupted their ability to work (Institute for Women’s Policy Research).
- The lifetime cost of intimate partner violence—including the costs of related health problems, lost productivity, and criminal justice costs—has been estimated at $103,767 for women and $23,414 for men (Institute for Women’s Policy Research).
- Victims of financial abuse collectively lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year (MoneyGeek).
Survivors from communities that have been marginalized face additional barriers to accessing support, safety, and justice.
- 3 out of 4 advocates report that immigrant survivors fear accessing legal services related to their abuser (Tahirih Justice Center).
- 45% of Black women and 40% of Black men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime (Ujima: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community).
- Despite their high rates of domestic violence, Black survivors are disproportionately more likely to be criminalized by the legal system (Women of Color Network).
- For LGBTQ survivors, 12.2% of abusive partners used heterosexist and anti-LGBTQ oppression as a method to have power over and control their partners (Women of Color Network).
Resources for Further Reading
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducts an annual census documenting the number of individuals who sought services in a single 24-hour period, as well as the types of services requested, the number of service requests that went unmet due to a lack of resources, and the issues and barriers that domestic violence programs face as they strive to provide services to victims of domestic violence.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publish the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, an ongoing survey that presents data on the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking among women and men in the United States.
- The latest summary reports can be found here.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) launched a report entitled ” Dreams Deferred: A Survey on the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Survivors’ Education, Careers, and Economic Security”. Read more and download the report here.
Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the Massachusetts coalition against domestic violence and sexual assault, keeps a list of the victims of domestic violence homicide across the state. JDI’s “Not One More” report on domestic violence homicide in Massachusetts can be found here.
The Women of Color Network (WOCN) has compiled the Gaining Ground Reports, a collection of survey data, stories and experiences gathered through focus groups, created with the aim to further diversify anti-violence organizations and enhance their outreach and services to marginalized populations.
The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (VAWnet) hosts an extensive online database with thousands of materials on gender based violence.
The National Resource Center On Domestic Violence And Firearms created a toolkit for providers that addresses the impact of firearms on domestic violence victim-survivors, particularly during periods of wide-spread crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.