Monday, October 25, 2010

Relationship Violence Fact Sheet

Relationship Violence Fact SheetWhile intimate partner violence (IPV) includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and verbal abuse, this fact sheet focuses on physical violence because it is more widely researched. IPV is violence perpetrated by current or former dates, boyfriends, girlfriends, cohabitating partners, or spouses.

IPV has also been referred to as battering, courtship violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence.

How Widespread is It?

  • 1-8 million incidents of IPV occur every year.
  • About 32 million adult Americans have experienced IPV in their lifetimes.
  • One in five young women reports being abused by a dating partner.

Who is at Greatest Risk?

  • 85-90% of IPV victims are women.
  • Women are victims of IPV at a rate about 5 times that of males.
  • 22% of women and 7% of men report IPV physical assaults.
  • 8% of women and .3% of men report IPV rapes.
  • 5% of women and .6% of men report IPV stalking.
  • IPV makes up 22% of violent crime against women and 3% of violent crime against men.
  • Females account for 84% of the hospital emergency department visits for IPVrelated injuries.
  • Women ages 16 to 24 are most vulnerable to IPV.
  • Women experience the greatest assault rate (21.3 per 1000 women) between the ages of 20 and 24. This is eight times the peak rate for men (3 per 1000 men ages 25-34).

Is It a Problem at UGA?

  • 18.3% of UGA students report being in an emotionally abusive relationship in the past year.
  • 2.1% of UGA students reported being in a physically abusive relationship in the past year.
  • 2.5% of UGA students reported being in a sexually abusive relationship in the past year.

How Does It Happen?

  • IPV is chronic in nature; 2/3 of victims said they were assaulted multiple times by the same partner.
  • Women whose partners are verbally abusive have more than a seven times greater risk of experiencing physical violence than women whose partners are not abusive.
  • Most physical assaults against women involved pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and/or hitting.
  • Female victims were 7 to 14 times more likely than male victims to report that an intimate partner beat them up, choked or tried to drown them, threatened them with a gun, or actually used a gun on them.
  • 15% of IPV victims were involved in a victimization in which the offender had a weapon.
  • 4-8% of pregnant women experience IPV.
  • 2/3 of IPV against women and 1/2 of IPV against men occurred in the victim’s home.
  • 60% of IPV occurs between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

How Does It Affect Health?

  • Women (40-50%) are more likely than men (20-30%) to report being injured by a physical assault by an intimate.
  • Women who experience IPV are at higher risk for physical health problems including acute physical injuries, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, sexually transmitted infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, urinary tract infections, hearing or sight deficits, stomach ulcers, spastic colon, frequent indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, angina, and hypertension. They are also more likely to experience posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders.
  • Women who experience dating violence are 1.7 times more likely to binge drink; 2.5 times more likely to smoke heavily; 3.4 times more likely to use cocaine; 3.9 times more likely to become pregnant; 3.7 times more likely to use diet pills, laxatives or vomiting to control weight; 8.6 times more likely to attempt suicide.

How Bad Can It Get?

  • In 1999, IPV accounted for 32.1% of all female homicides and for 3.6% of all male homicides.
  • In 1998, women were 3/4 of the victims of the 1830 murders attributed to intimate partners.

Does It Affect Same-Sex Relationships?

  • 10% of intimate partner violence against males is perpetrated by males.
  • 2% of intimate partner violence against females is perpetrated by females.
  • 39.2% of women who cohabitate with women report being victims of IPV compared with 21.7% of women who cohabitate with men.
  • Same-sex cohabitating women are nearly three times more likely to report being victimized by a male partner than a female partner.
  • Same-sex cohabitating men are twice as likely to report victimization by a male intimate partner than are opposite sex cohabiting men by a female partner.

Do the Police Get Involved?

  • About half of all victims report the IPV to the police.
  • The top reasons given for not reporting are it is a “private or personal matter,” “police wouldn’t do anything,” “police wouldn’t believe me,” and it was a “minor, one-time incident.”
  • When notified of the incident, the police responded to about 90% of the calls for assistance from intimate violence victims.

Whose Problem is It?

  • 34% of Americans say they have witnessed an incident of domestic violence.
  • 59% report they personally know someone close to them (friends, relatives) who has been affected by domestic violence.
  • Medical expenses, property losses and lost pay from IPV cost victims nearly $150 million a year.
  • 75% of college students consider domestic violence to be a major problem in our society.
  • 90% of men and women say it is the responsibility of men to try to prevent or stop others from abusing women.
  • 98% think the public has a responsibility to do something about domestic violence.


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  13. Roper Starch Worldwide. (1997). Male and female perceptions of domestic violence survey. New York. NY: Liz Claiborne.

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