June 13, 2005

DOJ: Domestic Violence figures on the decline

Excellent news: Domestic Violence Drops by More Than Half

WASHINGTON (AP) - Specialists are crediting greater public attention to child abuse and other family related violence with helping cause a steep drop in reported domestic crimes.

Between 1993 and 2002, the rate of family violence fell from about 5.4 victims to 2.1 victims per 1,000 residents age 12 and older, according to a Justice Department report released Sunday.

Simple assault was the most frequent type of violent offense. Murder accounted for less than one-half of 1 percent of all family violence between 1998 and 2002 - the most recent years analyzed for the report.

The report looked back to 1993 - the year the survey was redesigned - for a long-term trend in family violence, but analyzed the most recent years to glean detailed information on patterns of crime.

Almost half of the 3.5 million victims of family violence between 1998 and 2002 were spouses. Fewer than one in 100 died as a result.

The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that:

_73 percent of victims were female.

_75 percent of offenders were male.

_Most violence happened in or near the victim's home.

_74 percent of victims were white.

_Most victims were between ages 25 and 54.

_79 percent of offenders were white; most were at least 30 years old.

Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, said the report "offers a ray of hope that our nation is finally on the right track in addressing the violence that devastates so many families in this country."

"But our work is not nearly done. Domestic, dating and family violence are still taking a terrible toil," she said.

Beverly Balos, a University of Minnesota law professor and specialist in domestic violence issues, added:

"We should be celebrating the overall decline in domestic violence in terms of thinking about services that have been possible over the last 10 years in individual states. It's made a difference in keeping women and children safe."

Violent crimes are rape, robbery, aggravated assault and homicides including murder and manslaughter. Family violence includes all types of violent crime committed by someone related to the victim.

Balos noted the drop in family violence is part of an overall decrease in violent crime in past years.

According to the most recent Justice Department report, the violent crime rate remained at the lowest level recorded since 1973. The rate was 22.6 per 1,000 people. In 2002, it was 23.1 per 1,000.

Family violence is measured through the National Crime Victimization Survey, based on survey interviews with samples of the U.S. population. It is also measured through the FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System, based on statistics compiled by local police departments.

Figures from the survey show that family violence accounted for 11 percent of all violent crime between 1998 and 2002, both reported to police and unreported. Police statistics show that family violence makes up nearly 33 percent of all police-recorded violence.

The report said the discrepancy could result from the willingness of victims and others to report crime to police. Also, the police statistics are not directly comparable to the survey's in terms of geographical coverage. Police figures are based on data from agencies reporting in 18 states and the District of Columbia; the survey's cover the entire country.

While this is definitely good news, under-reporting always remains an issue in DV statistical compilations, especially in poor ethnic/immigrant/(il)legal communities.

Posted by Kyer at June 13, 2005 12:00 PM

You seem to have the hiccups. Need a hand?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at June 14, 2005 10:06 AM