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Facts About Domestic Violence

Back to 2002 Curriculum. 

  • Most mentally ill people are not violent.

  • In the general population, men show much higher rates of violent offenses than women. Males and females with mental disorders do not significantly differ in their base rates of violent behavior - and violent behavior, when seen, is usually during an acute episode.

  • Summary of Risk Factors for Violence -- generalizations:
    • Age: late teens and early 20s.
    • Sex: males greater than females unless mentally ill
    • IQ: lower IQ, higher rate of street violence
    • Social Class: lower the social class, more street violence
    • Substance abuse, juvenile gang membership, available guns, lower education, employment and residential instability are associated with a higher rate of violence

  • Domestic violence is found in all age groups, all socioeconomic classes, all ethnic and religious categories, and occurs in same-sex as well as heterosexual relationships.

  • Historically, women have been the victims in up to 95% in cases of spousal abuse. At least 3 million women are beaten in their homes each year. Pregnancy and anticipated separation are two of the more vulnerable time periods for domestic violence to occur.

  • Female victims of adult abuse are up to two times more likely than non-victims to abuse street drugs and/or alcohol.

  • Nearly half of female murder victims are killed by a current or previous male partner.

  • Most women victims of domestic violence are not likely to disclose the source of their injuries to medical personnel unless asked directly - and even then, domestic abuse is significantly underreported.

  • One in 10 men and one in 5 women in the United States have reported experiencing sexual abuse, usually at the hands of family members.

  • Over 2 million older adults are mistreated each year in the United States.

  • Physicians must report suspected child abuse in most states. Domestic violence statutes require limited, if any, reporting of other types of domestic abuse.

  • Metropolitan police departments give immediate response priority to a crime in progress Lower priority is given to a report of a past crime.