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This page features a combination of Harriet's House information and statistics related to domestic abuse from the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Domestic violence is a crime that occurs between people in a relationship, whether it be parent/child, wife/husband, boyfriend/girlfriend, live-in or domestic partners, as well as former relationships (ex-husband/wife, ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, etc.)

Domestic violence is a problem that affects every community across the country. It affects humans of all genders, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, religions and relationship types.

Domestic Violence is not a private matter, a couples problem, a domestic "squabble" or a "fight." It is not a momentary loss of temper or the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Violence is a choice the abuser makes.

Domestic Violence is a deliberate pattern of abusive tactics used by a partner in an intimate relationship to maintain power and control over the other person.

Most victims of domestic violence are women.
Women are a "significantly greater" risk of intimate partner violence than men. By conservative estimates, 1.5 million women in the United States are assaulted by their intimate partners every year. (Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers Disease Control and Prevention, July 2000)

In the United States, a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assault. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey, August 1995)

Alabama reflects national statistics. In 1998, 83 percent of the victims of domestic violence cases reported by state law enforcement agencies were females. For this reason, female pronouns are used on this web site to refer to victims.

Domestic Violence includes a wide range of abuse, including:
  • Physical Assaults
  • Sexual Assault
  • Psychological abuse
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Manipulation of children
  • Economic control
  • Destruction of property or pets

A recent national survey of 8,000 women found that women whose partners were jealous, controlling or verbally abusive were significantly more likely to report being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by their partners. "Having a verbally abusive partner was the variable most likely to predict that a woman would be victimized by an intimate partner." (NVAW Survey, July 2000)

Domestic violence is a crime.
The state of Alabama passed new legislation in 2000 which names domestic violence as a separate crime in the criminal code and stiffens penalties for abusers. The Governor of Alabama has said to those who repeatedly abuse their families:"Get ready to serve your time."

Domestic violence is still a hidden crime.
Most domestic violence is not reported to the police. Only one-fourth of all physical assaults against women by intimates were reported to police, according to a national survey. "The majority of victims who did not report [domestic violence] thought the police would not or could not do anything for them." (NVAW Survey, July 2000)

The percent of female murder victims killed by their intimate partners has remained at about 30 percent since 1976.
(Bureau of Justice Special Report:
Intimate Partner Violence, May 2000)

Domestic violence is damaging physically and emotionally.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991)

Some 22 to 35 percent of women who visit medical emergency rooms are treated for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse. (David Adams, "Identifying the Assaultive Husband in Court: You be the Judge," Boston Bar Journal, 33-4, July/August 1989)

Domestic violence becomes more dangerous--more frequent and more violent--over time.
"One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person." (The Basics of Batterer Treatment, Common Purpose, Inc., Jamaica Plain, MA)

Nearly half of men who beat their wives do so at least three times a year. (AMA Diagnostic & Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence, 1994)

Domestic violence can lead to fatalities.
In homicides in which the victim-killer relationship is known, one-third of female victims were killed by an intimate. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Sex Differences in Violent Victimization, September 1997)

In one study, 88 percent of victims of domestic violence fatalities had a documented history of physical abuse. (Florida Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Review Project, 1997)

Myths and Facts About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence does not affect many people.

  • Nearly one in three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. (American Psychological Assn., Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, 1996)

  • Myth:
    Battering is only a momentary loss of temper.

  • Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation, etc. to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and constant) terrorizing factor. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1990)
  • Two thirds of women physically assaulted by an intimate said they were victimized multiple times by the same partner in a 12-month period. (NVAW Survey, July 2000)

  • Myth:
    Domestic violence only occurs in poor, urban areas.

  • Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income levels, and ages are battered - by husbands, boyfriends, lovers and partners (Surgeon General Antonia Novello, as quoted in Domestic Violence: Battered Women, publication of the Reference Department of the Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA)
  • "Approximately one-third of the men counseled (for battering) at Emerge (Perpetrator's Intervention Program) are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities. These have included doctors, psychologists, lawyers, ministers, and business executives. (For Shelter and Beyond, Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women Service Groups, Boston, MA 1990)

  • Myth:
    Domestic violence is just a push, slap or punch - it does not produce serious injuries.

  • More than one third of all rapes and physical assaults committed against women by intimates results in injury in which women receive some medical care. (NVAW Survey, July 2000)
  • Most research reports that violence against women escalates during pregnancy. One study found that 37 percent of obstetric patients were physically abused during pregnancy. (A. Helton, "Battering during pregnancy," American Journal of Nursing, August 1986.)
  • Each year, medical expenses from domestic violence total at least $3 to $5 billion (Domestic Violence for Health Care Providers, 3rd Edition, Colorado Domestic Violence Coalition, 1991.)