US Witnesses Dramatic Decline in Domestic Violence
by Jim Kouri, CPP
The domestic violence rate has declined since 1993, according to a report by the US Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
In 1993, nonfatal intimate partner violence was 5.8 victimizations per 1,000 US residents. By 2004, the last year studied by BJS, the violence rate fell to 2.6 victimizations per 1,000 individuals.
The Justice Department defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or same-sex partner. Violence between intimates includes homicides, rapes, robberies and assaults committed by either male or female partners.
2004 witnessed approximately 627,400 nonfatal intimate partner victimizations -- 475,900 against females and 151,500 against males. Approximately one-third of these offenses were serious violent crimes -- rapes, sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults -- and involved either serious injuries, weapons or sexual offenses.
Long-term trends in nonfatal intimate partner violence differ by gender. Non-fatal intimate partner victimization for females was about four victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 and older in 2004, down from about 10 in 1993. Non-fatal intimate partner violence for males remained relatively stable -- 1.6 victimizations per 1,000 males 12 years old and
older in 1993, compared to 1.3 per 1,000 in 2004.
The number of intimate partner homicide victims has declined since 1993, with greater declines seen for male victims. During 1993, the number of females murdered by intimates was 1,571, compared to 1,159 during 2004 -- a 26 percent decline. The number of males murdered by partners during 1993 was 698, compared to 385 in 2004 -- a 45 percent decline.
Overall intimate partner violence during 2004 remained unchanged from 2003, although some demographic groups experienced an increase. During that period the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence among black females increased from 3.8 to 6.6 victimizations per 1,000 females aged 12 and older. Non-fatal intimate partner violence for white males increased from 0.5 to 1.1 victimizations per 1,000 males age 12 and older.
Between 1993 and 2004, nonfatal intimate partner victimizations represented 22 percent of violent victimizations against females and 3 percent of those against males. Females and males who were separated or divorced reported the highest rates of nonfatal partner violence, whereas those who were married or widowed reported the lowest rates of such violence.
The average annual rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence from 1993 to 2004 was highest for American Indian and Alaskan Native females at 18.2 victimizations per 1,000 females aged 12 and older. The risks also varied by age group. Females 20 to 24 years old were at the highest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Asian males, white males and the elderly reported the lowest rates of partner violence.
For non-fatal intimate partner violence, as for violent crime in general, simple assault is
the most common type of violent crime. Simple assault is an attack without a weapon that results either in no injury or a minor injury. One-third of female victims of non-fatal intimate partner violence between 1993 and 2004 reported that the offender was under the influence of alcohol during the victimization.
One-fifth of male victims reported that the offender was under the influence of alcohol. Both male and female victims reported that their attacker was under the influence of drugs in about 6 percent of all victimizations.
Overall, 21 percent of female victims and 10 percent of male victims contacted an outside agency (police) for assistance. Female victims were more likely to contact a government agency than a private agency. Male victims were equally likely to contact a government or private agency for assistance.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.