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Domestic Violence in America

Domestic violence is a very real problem that affects millions of individuals throughout the United States. Women, men, and children can be the target of an abusive family member. The physical and emotional toll domestic violence can take is significant, often requiring years of treatment and counseling to heal.

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Domestic Violence in America

It is estimated that every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten by her partner or spouse. As reported to law enforcement and family law attorneys, these assaults can be verbal, physical, or involve the use of a weapon. Every year, nearly 10 million people become a victim of domestic violence. Over the course of a lifetime, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 7 men will become a victim of domestic violence.

Within these statistics are some even more frightening factors to note:

  • 19% of domestic violence incidents involve a weapon.
  • If a gun is present during a domestic incident, the risk of a homicide occurring increases by 500%.
  • Domestic violence with an intimate partner accounts for 15% of all violent crime in America.
  • Only 34% of domestic violence victims seek medical treatment for the injuries they have sustained.
  • Roughly 12% of women, and 5% of men are stalked by an intimate partner.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women between 18-44 years old.

Marital Rape as a Weapon

Rape is often used by domestic abusers as a means of degrading a spouse’s spirit and achieving submission. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women, and 1 in 71 men will be raped during their lifetime.

  • 45% of women, and 29% of men report that these rapes were committed by an intimate partner.
  • When domestic violence is present, the chance of spousal rape increases by 70%.
  • Only 16% of spousal rapes are reported to law enforcement.
  • 69% of women raped by a spouse or domestic partner are raped more than once by the same abuser.
  • 18% of domestic rapes are witnessed by children.
  • 35% of rapes are done in conjunction with other forms of physical violence.

In 1987, a study was conducted that showed women who murdered their husbands had been raped more than 20 times during the course of the marriage. In 2011, 926 women were murdered by a spouse or domestic partner. Of these, 264 were killed during the course of an argument. Women are at far greater risk of being murdered by a spouse or domestic partner. Between 2003 and 2012, only 2.5% of domestic violence murder victims were men.

Children & Domestic Violence

Every year, 15.5 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 are victims of domestic violence in America. They may witness the abuse of a parent, or they themselves may be the target of the abuser. Most of these incidents occur at home and can be considered a factor when determining parenting time in divorce.

  • Children exposed to domestic violence are three to four times more likely to become domestic abusers when they achieve adulthood.
  • In 2008, it was estimated that every day 16,500 children were living in domestic violence shelters or transitional housing to escape their abusers.
  • 33% of teen girls who are witnesses to, or direct victims of domestic violence, are likely to date “boys” who abuse them. They are also more likely to marry men who will abuse them.

Cost & Care

Domestic violence comes with a price. These costs include psychological care, physical care, loss of work/income, and long-term health consequences.

Female survivors of domestic abuse are…

  • 80% more likely to have a stroke.
  • 70% more likely to develop heart disease
  • 60% more likely to develop asthma
  • 70% more likely to become alcoholics

In 2014, the United Nations estimated that the cost of domestic violence to the global economy was roughly $8 trillion per year in lost earnings. In the US, it’s estimated that the cost for care and treatment coupled with the loss of income per victim is close to $95,000.

Nationally, domestic violence costs 8 million days of paid work, and $8.3 billion in lost productivity each year; that’s the same number of days as 32,000 full-time jobs. Moreover, between 20-60% of victims lose their jobs because they take too much time off, or can’t perform their duties. Women who are victims of domestic violence are also more likely to acquire STI’s, become depressed, or attempt suicide following their abuse.

Women and men alike are seeking counseling and medical treatment. Family law attorneys working closely with their clients know that the counseling and treatment continues for many years after the abuse has ended.

  • 18.5 million mental health care visits each year are related to domestic violence.
  • Every day, nearly 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines.
  • The average cost for a woman seeking emergency medical care is $948.
  • The average cost for a man seeking emergency care is $387.
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