A common belief is that if a woman leaves her batterer she will be safer because the violence will end. This is a myth for many women; 75% of women who are murdered by their intimate partner had recently separated from their abuser, and many women experience continued and even escalated violence after separation.
Advancements in technology have increased batterer access to victims, opening up new avenues to stalk and harass their victims via telephone, texting, email, GPS tracking, caller ID, hidden cameras, and computer monitoring software.
African American women comprise a disproportionately high percentage of the victims of intimate partner homicide (for example, in 2005, African American women represented 22% of intimate partner homicides although they represented only 8% of the population).
Allegations of domestic violence have no demonstrated effect on the rate at which abusers are awarded custody of their children, nor do such allegations affect the rate at which abusers are ordered into supervised visitation. Abusers win unsupervised custody and visitation at the same rate as non-abusers. While joint custody can be beneficial when parents cooperate, it can also increase opportunities for abusers to maintain control and continue to abuse their former partners and children.
Approximately 20% of teen girls have sent a provocative or sexual image of themselves by text or electronic message to a boyfriend. More than half of teen girls say pressure from their boyfriend is the reason; only 18% of boys who’ve sent such messages cite pressure from a girl. Approximately 14% of male recipients share the image with others after they break up.
Asian women experience intimate partner violence at a higher rate than the national average, with up to 55% reporting that they have experienced intimate partner violence during their lifetime.
Between 60 and 94% of female prison inmates experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse prior to their incarceration.
Between 67% and 80% of rape victims between the ages of 18 and 24 do not report the incident to the police. Approximately 25% of these victims consider the incident a personal matter, while 20% fear reprisal by the offender. Fewer than 20% of these victims receive assistance from a victim services agency.
Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families in the U.S., further exacerbating a problem that is already all too common in this country.
Domestic violence occurs in 25-33% of same-sex relationships, about the same rate as heterosexual relationships. One study, however, found that half of transgender and intersex individuals report being raped or assaulted by an intimate partner, significantly higher than national averages.
Forty-four percent of youth reporting physical teen violence also reported a history of child maltreatment; 2 out of 3 had witnessed an assault between other family members.
In a sample of 100 girls adjudicated delinquent, 69% reported experiencing caregiver violence; 42% reported dating violence; 81% experienced sexual violence; and 90% witnessed violence.
Intervention with perpetrators of family violence can improve the quality of father-child relationships if it addresses attitudes and skills. Interventions that build fathers' tolerance of challenging behaviors and increase positive engagement with their children help reduce the risk factors for child maltreatment.
Intimate partner violence doesn’t stop at the bedroom door—sexual violence can be one of the most devastating forms of violence for victims. In the United States, approximately 1 in 5 women are raped during their lifetime. More than half of these women report that they were raped by an intimate partner. Almost half of women and 1 in 5 men experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime.
Intimate partner violence is appallingly common: More than 1 in 3 women, and more than 1 in 4 men, in the United States experience rape, physical assault, or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetime. That means a typical city bus likely has eight female victims and three male victims of violence.
Many abusive men are concerned about the effect of violence on their children and the children of their partners. Some may be motivated to stop using violence if they understand the devastating effects on their children.
Rates of domestic violence and assault are highest for Native American women, with 39% experiencing intimate partner violence, 17% being stalked, and 34% being raped during their lifetime.
Separation does not always protect the children in the relationship. Children may witness more violence in their parents’ relationship after separation than before, and they often become the abuser’s target when the adult victim is no longer as accessible.
Separation often marks a change in batterers’ tactics to more severe violence, stalking, and using the children as a target or as a tool to punish the victim. Custody hearings and visitation exchanges become opportunities for abusers to continue their control and violence.
Strong social supports and spirituality are directly linked to the resiliency of domestic violence survivors. Family, friends, advocates, and spiritual support can be invaluable.
Studies indicate that youth with multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as being exposed to domestic violence, face a greater risk of experiencing mental health problems, behavioral problems, substance abuse, and delinquency. Compared to children who grew up with no domestic violence, children who witness violence are at greater risk of having serious adult health problems, including substance abuse, obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, and higher unintended pregnancy rates.
Supporting children’s healthy attachment to a survivor-parent is crucial to their development and resiliency following exposure to domestic violence.
The abuser’s intimate partner isn’t always the only victim. A recent study revealed that 57% of mass shootings (shootings in which at least four people were murdered with a gun) between 2009 and 2014 involved the killing of a family member or current or former intimate partner. Other victims often include children, other family members, and law enforcement officers. While only 15% of total gun homicide victims in the U.S. are female, half of mass shooting victims are female.
The economic impact of domestic violence is stagger- ing, including medical costs of $5.8 billion per year. Eight million days of work are lost (the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs) each year and 20-60% of victims lose their jobs due to the effects of domestic violence.
The number one protective factor in helping children heal from exposure to domestic violence is the presence of a consistent, supportive, and loving adult, most often their non-abusive parent.
The rate of homicide increases dramatically when a weapon is easily available. Female victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to be murdered by their abuser if the abuser owns a gun.
There are approximately 100,000 contested child custody cases each year in the United States. Studies indicate that two-thirds of them likely involve domestic violence. Abusive fathers are more than twice as likely to seek sole custody of their children than non-abusive fathers. Courts award fathers joint or sole custody 70% of the time.
Violence often starts among the most vulnerable, children, and is perpetrated by a trusted adult. Among adult victims of intimate partner violence, 22% of females and 15% of males report being victimized for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17. For rape victims between the ages of 18 and 24, the offender was known to the victim approximately 80% of the time. Exposure to violence makes girls more vulnerable to violence as adults: Girls who experience physical or sexual abuse are six times more likely to be victimized as women. Boys who witness violence are more likely to perpetrate it as adults.
Violence takes many forms; some of the most easily recognized are severe physical violence and stalking. Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men are stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
Women are victims in 85% of intimate partner violence incidents and three-fourths of perpetrators are male. Although male victims must be taken seriously and their needs must be addressed, these figures illustrate the gender-based nature of intimate partner violence.
Women who worked with advocates experienced less violence, reported a higher quality of life and social support, and had less difficulty obtaining community resources over time.

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