Justice Department Releases '05 Intimate Partner Violence Data

On Thursday evening, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice released the latest edition of “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” updated with 2005 data. Overall, the report shows little change in rates of violence from 2004 to 2005.

Domestic homicides against women rose from 2004 to 2005, from 1,155 murders in 2004 to 1,181 in 2005. That means that, on average, in 2005 more than three women a day were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. Domestic homicides against men dropped from 2004 to 2005, from 344 to 329.

The new report notes that partner violence is difficult to measure because it often occurs in private and victims are often reluctant to report incidents to anyone because of shame or fear of reprisal. It finds more than 564,392 intimate partner victimizations in this country in 2005 – with women the victims in the vast majority of incidents.

“The new data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that partner violence and domestic homicide remain costly and devastating problems in this country,” said Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler. “Although the overall decline in partner violence in the last decade is encouraging, it is clear that our nation is not yet doing nearly enough to keep women and children safe.”

The report finds that, as in the past, women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk for partner violence, and rates remain high for African American, American Indian and Alaska Native women.

Four-Year Analysis

From 2001 to 2005, children lived in households experiencing 38 percent of intimate partner violence incidents involving female victims.

Also during that period, half of females experiencing nonfatal intimate partner violence suffered an injury, with about five percent suffering serious injuries and 44 percent suffering minor injuries. Almost 63 percent of female victims of nonfatal partner violence reported being hit, slapped or knocked down; 55 percent said they were grabbed, held or tripped; and more than seven percent said they were raped.

In those four years, about 96 percent of females experiencing nonfatal intimate partner violence were victimized by a male and about three percent reported that the offender was another female. About four in five males experience nonfatal intimate partner violence (82 percent) were victimized by a female and about 16 percent reported that the offender was another male.

"There is no question that we have a lot more work to do to keep families safe," Soler added. "We have seen no new funding for the prevention programs in the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, and terrible shortfalls in spending for some of its most promising programs. We urge Congress to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act next year, so that we can do more to stop the violence that is still much too common in our families and communities."

The new report is based on the National Crime Victimization Survey and Supplementary Homicide Reports of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program as presented in Homicide Trends in the United States. It is available online at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/intimate/ipv.htm#contents.

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