Statistics & Facts

The availability and use of valid, comprehensive, and scientifically rigorous data and statistics about domestic violence is essential to increasing understanding of this complex issue, and moving forward in our collective work to prevent and end domestic violence.
 
The best and most recent science available from the US Centers for Disease Control & Injury Prevention (CDC) is the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) published in 2010. NISVS is an ongoing, nationally-representative telephone survey that utilized rigorous scientific methodologies to collect detailed information on IPV, sexual violence and stalking among adult women and men in the US:
  • A key finding of NISVS is that while 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner, women are disproportionally affected by sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking.
  • Women are over 4 times more likely to be beaten, 6 times more likely to be slammed against something, and 9 times more likely to be hurt by choking or suffocating. 
  • 81% of women who experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short or long term impacts related to the violence experienced in this relationship such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and injury, while 35% of men report such impacts of their experiences. 

The California Women's Health Survey (CWHS) is a survey about women's health which serves as a catalyst for innovative solutions that impact the health of California's women and girls. The Women's Health Survey is a unique collaborative interdepartmental and private industry effort between the California Departments of Public Health, Health Care Services, Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Programs and Social Services and private partners the California Medical Review, Inc. (aka Lumetra) and the Public Health Institute. Some key findings from the CWHS:
  • Approximately 40% of California women experience physical intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.
  • Younger women, 18-24 years of age, were significantly more likely (11%) to be victims of physical intimate partner violence in the past year than women in other age groups.
  • Of those experiencing physical intimate partner violence, 75% of victims had children under the age of 18 years at home. 

The 13th Biennial California Student Survey (CSS) found that at least one incident of physical dating violence was reported by 3% of 9th graders and 7% of 11th graders.  Among students who had a boy/girlfriend, the rates of dating violence were 5.4% in 9th grade and 11% in 11th grade. The California Student Survey (CSS) is a voluntary, anonymous, and confidential self-report survey of substance use, school safety, harassment and violence, youth resilience factors, and health-related behaviors. CSS is conducted every two years among a statewide sample of students in grades 7, 9, and 11. The California Department of Education (CDE), Department of Alcohol and Drugs (ADP) and the Attorney General's Office co-sponsor the CSS.
 
VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, is a resource library home to thousands of materials on violence against women and related issues, with particular attention to its intersections with various forms of oppression.
 
Programs and Service
  • Domestic violence programs in California provide essential, lifesaving services for victims and their children fleeing violence.  According to the California Office of Emergency Services, in 2011:
    • Programs provided 562,612 bednights for victims and their children;
    • Advocates answered 117,129 hotline calls;
    • 20,320 victims received emergency food and clothing; and
  • On just one day in 2012, 5,258 victims and their children received services at domestic violence programs in the state.
    • On that same day 1,170 requests for services went unmet, largely due to lack of resources.
 
Domestic Violence Homicide & Law Enforcement Calls
  • According to the California Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Statistics Center, there were 147 domestic violence fatalities in 2011.  While all other homicides are decreasing (i.e., gang related, robbery) domestic violence homicides increased by 30% from 2008 to 2011.
    • Of the 147 domestic violence homicides in 2011, 129 of the victims were female and 18 were male.
    • These accounted for 11.8% of all homicides in California.
  • On average, more than three women a day are murdered by a current or former intimate partner. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. In the same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner (Bureau of Justice Statistics Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003).
  • California law enforcement agencies received 157,634 domestic violence-related calls in 2012.
  • Women are at an increased risk of harm shortly after separation from an abusive partner. (Bachman, R. and Salzman, L., Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: Estimates From the Redesigned Survey 1 (January 2000).
 
Intersection Between Firearms and Domestic Violence
Domestic violence and gun violence are interwoven issues. Abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners. Guns are used to intimidate, threaten, and harm victims. The intersection of intimate partner abuse and gun violence is particularly lethal: domestic violence victims residing in a house with firearms are five times more likely to be killed than victims living in gun-free homes. Guns are used in over half of all domestic violence homicides – more than all other weapons combined. Additional statistics:
 
Additional Helpful Information When Reviewing Research Findings