Domestic violence has been defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other. (1) In the United States, most domestic violence incidents are never reported. (2)
Domestic Violence Statistics
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. (1)
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. (1)
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (1)
- Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively). (3)
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime. (1)
- Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. (1)
- More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home. (2)
How does witnessing domestic violence effect children?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. (1) Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at higher rates (30% and 60%). (2)
Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASAs, are volunteers who advocate for the rights and well-being of children living in the foster care system to ensure all their needs are met. Voices for Children, a private nonprofit based in San Diego, has recruited, trained, and supervised thousands of CASA volunteers. Sometimes CASAs are assigned to cases where the child or sibling group witnessed their parent’s domestic violence, and will work with other professionals on the case to secure resources, such as therapy, to help the child(ren) overcome the trauma.
An example of how a CASA can help foster children overcome trauma is illustrated in Voices for Children’s video “Candace and Her Brothers”—a story of siblings who entered foster care whose lives changed when Genevieve, a CASA volunteer, became their advocate.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline; 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
San Diego Regional Guide for Domestic Violence Resources
Sources: (1) National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (2) Safe Horizon (3) The Hotline.org