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Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003-2012

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014                  Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-9320


WASHINGTON – Domestic violence accounted for 21 percent of all violent victimizations during the period from 2003 to 2012, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Intimate partner violence (15 percent) accounted for a greater percentage of all violent victimizations than violence committed by immediate family members (4 percent) or other relatives (2 percent) during that time.

Domestic violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault committed by intimate partners (current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends), immediate family members (parents, children or siblings) or other relatives. These findings are based on BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which measures nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to police.

The rate of domestic violence in U.S. households declined 63 percent, from 13.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 1994 to 5.0 per 1,000 in 2012. Both serious domestic violence (rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault) and simple assault decreased, and most of the decline occurred from 1994 to 2002.

Current or former boyfriends or girlfriends committed most domestic violence between 2003 and 2012. This was true for both females (39 percent) and males (30 percent). The majority of domestic violence was committed against females (76 percent), compared to males (24 percent).

A similar percentage of violence by intimate partners and immediate family members was reported to police (56 percent each), while about 49 percent of violence by other relatives was reported to police. Victims of intimate partner violence (24 percent) received more assistance from victim service agencies than victims of violence by immediate family members (18 percent) and other relatives (9 percent).

Between 2003 and 2012―

  • The majority of domestic violence was simple assault (64 percent), compared to serious violence (36 percent).
  • Most domestic violence (77 percent) occurred at or near the victim’s home.
  • Intimate partner violence (48 percent) resulted in injuries more often than violence perpetrated by immediate family members (37 percent) and other relatives (26 percent).
  • A weapon was involved in a larger percentage of violence committed by other relatives (26 percent) than intimate partners (19 percent) and immediate family members (19 percent).
  • Rates of domestic violence were highest for persons ages 18 to 24 (11.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons) and lowest for persons age 65 or older (0.6 per 1,000).
  • Non-Hispanic persons of two or more races (16.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) and non-Hispanic blacks (4.7 per 1,000) had the highest rates of intimate partner violence, compared to non-Hispanic whites (3.9 per 1,000), Hispanics (2.8 per 1,000) and non-Hispanic persons of other races (2.3 per 1,000).

The report, Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003–2012 (NCJ 244697), was written by BJS statisticians Jennifer L. Truman and Rachel E. Morgan. The report, related documents and additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.


Date Published: April 17, 2014