Study: Domestic Violence Rates Halved Since 1993

WASHINGTON – According to a study just released by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. rate of domestic violence has decreased by more than 50 percent since 1993.

The rate of assaults, rapes, homicides and robberies against a current of former partner was 10 per 1,000 women 1993. In 2004, however, the rate fell to four per 1,000. During that same time period, homicides fell by 30 percent, from 2,269 to 1,544.

The highest rates of violence were reported by women who were separated or divorced, although experts surmise married women may be less likely to recognize or report abuse when it occurs. American Indian women and native Alaskan women were much more likely than whites or other minorities to be victims of domestic violence. Approximately 18 out of every 1,000 Alaskan women and American Indian women were victimized.

Some attribute the overall decrease to law enforcement’s increased training and awareness. Others, however, believe the reduction may be due to victims being less willing to report incidents due to the financial consequences.

The findings were described as “encouraging” by Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Still, she says, “It is clear that violence against women remains a costly and devastating problem in our country.” According to Soler, in 2004 on average, more than three women per day were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

Domestic violence accounts for nearly one-fourth of the violent assaults against women, while it accounts for only 3 percent against men.

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