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Violence against Women: Estimates from the redesigned National Crime Victimization Survey


Women Usually Victimized by Offenders They Know

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 1995    202/307-0784

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Women were attacked about six
times more often by offenders with whom they had
an intimate relationship than were male violence
victims during 1992 and 1993, the Department of
Justice announced today. 

During each year women were the victims of more
than 4.5 million violent crimes, including
approximately 500,000 rapes or other sexual
assaults. In 29 percent of the violent 
crimes against women by lone offenders the
perpetrators were intimates--husbands, former
husbands, boyfriends or former boyfriends. 

The victims' friends or acquaintances committed
more than half of the rapes and sexual assaults,
intimates committed 26 percent, and strangers were
responsible for about one in five. 

Forty-five percent of all violent attacks against
female victims 12 years old and older by multiple
offenders also involved offenders they knew. 

During 1992 approximately 28 percent of female
homicide victims (1,414 women) were known to have
been killed by their husbands, former husbands or
boyfriends. In contrast, just over 3 percent of
male homicide victims (637) were known to have
been killed by their wives, former wives or

Men, however, were more likely than women to
experience violent crimes committed by both
acquaintances and strangers. In fact, men were
about twice as likely as women to experience acts 
of violence by strangers. 

About a fifth of the lone-offender attacks against
women involved a weapon. Strangers used weapons 30
percent of the time, compared to 18 percent for
intimates. However, women were injured by
intimates in 52 percent of the attacks, compared
to 20 percent of the attacks by strangers. 

Women from 19 to 29 years old were more likely
than women of other ages to be victimized by an
intimate. Also, the rate of intimate-offender
attacks on women separated from their husbands 
was about three times higher than that of divorced
women and about 25 times higher than that of
married women. However, because the survey records
a respondent's marital status only at the time of
the interview, it is possible in some instances 
that separation or divorce followed the violence. 

Women of all races, as well as Hispanic and
non-Hispanic women, were about equally vulnerable
to attacks by intimates. However, women in
families with incomes below $10,000 per year 
were more likely than other women to be violently
attacked by an intimate. 

The data are from the Bureau of Justice
Statistics' (BJS) National Crime Victimization
Survey, which was redesigned two years ago to
improve estimates of difficult to measure crimes,
such as rape, sexual assault and domestic
violence. The success of the redesign means that
the numbers in this report are not directly 
comparable to earlier estimates. 

Annually approximately 50,000 U.S. households and
more than 100,000 individuals participate in the
survey. The redesigned format gives additional
information on rapes and sexual assaults and 
on domestic violence that was not previously
available. Unlike the Federal Bureau of
Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports, 
which are based solely on crimes reported to the
police, the BJS survey measures crime from the
victim's perspective. 

Estimating rates of violence against women,
especially sexual assault and other incidents
committed by intimate offenders, continues to be a
difficult task, the report noted. Many factors 
inhibit women from reporting these crimes either
to police or to government interviewers. The
private nature of the event, the perceived stigma
and the belief that no purpose would be served
in reporting the crime keeps an unknown portion of
the victims from talking about the event. 

The special report, "Violence Against Women:
Estimates from the Redesigned Survey"
(NCJ-154348), was written by Ronet Bachman, Ph.D.,
a BJS statistician, and Linda E. Saltzman, Ph.D., 
a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Single paper copies may be
obtained from the BJS Clearinghouse, Box 179,
Annapolis Junction, Maryland 20701-1079. The
telephone number is 1-800/732-3277. Fax orders 
to 410/792-4358. 

After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354 

For additional information send a blank e-Mail to 
[email protected] or contact: 

National Criminal Justice Reference Service
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Tel: 1-800-851-3420 

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Date Published: August 16, 1995