Domestic violence tends to be underreported: women report only one-quarter to one-half of their assaults to police, men perhaps less.The vast majority of physical assaults are not life threatening; rather, they involve pushing, slapping, and hitting.Most women victims of domestic violence do not seek medical treatment, even for injuries deserving of it. Surveys provide us with estimates of the level of domestic violence in the United States, but there are wide differences among them depending on the definitions of domestic violence used and populations surveyed.Two large surveys provide some insight into the level of domestic violence in the United States. The survey attempts to capture two types of crime, victimization that was reported to the police and victimization that was not reported to the police. ††† The NCVS, administered by census workers as part of a crime survey, does not conduct all of its interviews in private because all members of the household are interviewed for different portions of the survey; also in contrast, the NVAWS survey uses more questions to screen for intimate violence, perhaps drawing out more from those interviewed. The first, the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS), conducted in 1995 and1996, found that nearly one in four women and nearly one in 13 men surveyed experienced rape and/or physical assault by a current or former spouse/partner/dating partner at some time in their lifetime, with about one and one-half percent of women and about one percent of men having been so victimized in the 12 months before the survey.The National Crime Victimization Survey’s (NCVS) estimates, however, are about one-third lower for women and more than two-thirds lower for men. Even the lower numbers of the NCVS suggest that intimate partner violence in the United States is extensive. “Characteristics of Participants in Domestic Violence: Assessment at the Scene of Domestic Assault.” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 277(17):1369-1373. The frequency of the call likely makes claims of dangerousness in terms of injury to officers overblown as well. In addition, police must address a range of disputes among intimates, former intimates, and family members that may or may not involve violence, including Some of these related problems are covered in other guides in this series, all of which are listed at the end of this guide. † From 1994 through 2001, the rate of every major violent and property crime also steeply declined: homicide/manslaughter (down 40 percent); rape/sexual assault (down 56 percent); robbery (down 53 percent); aggravated assault (down 56 percent); simple assault (down 46 percent); household burglary (down 51 percent); motor vehicle theft (down 52 percent); theft (down 47 percent). Domestic violence homicides have declined in similar proportions as well.
Domestic violence involves a current or former intimate (and in many states, a current or former dating partner). †† The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) collects data about criminal victimization from an ongoing nationally representative sample of U. Interviewers ask questions about crime victimization of all household members age 12 and older. As the scope of the problem has become understood, domestic violence is now acknowledged as a significant legal and public health issue, not only a private family problem.There are laws in every state that make domestic violence illegal.The number of black female victims of intimate partner homicide fell 49 percent as compared to 9 percent for white females. There is a robust debate among researchers about the level of relationship violence women are responsible for and the extent to which it is in self-defense or fighting back.The NCVS and other studies have found that women are the victims in as much as 85 percent of domestic violence incidents.However, there are also research findings that women in heterosexual relationships have the same, if not higher, rates of relationship violence as men.Generally, studies about domestic violence fall into two categories: family conflict studies and crime victimization studies. Those that tend to show high rates of violence by women (or rates higher than men) are family conflict studies and contain questions about family conflicts and disputes and responses to these, including physical responses.