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Violence Against Women in San Diego

NCJ Number
Susan Pennell; Cynthia Burke; Darlanne Hoctor Mulmat
Date Published
March 2000
124 pages
This document presents information collected from emergency shelters for battered women in San Diego County, California.
Nearly 4,000 reports of domestic violence to San Diego County law enforcement in 1996 were examined. Methods also included a standardized interview instrument, and interviews with shelter staff. The goal of the study was to compile and analyze data about incidents of domestic violence in order to enhance understanding of the nature and scope of violence against women. One out of four of the 599 clients was Hispanic and 33 percent were Caucasian. Nineteen percent were African American and the remaining was of other ethnicities. More than one-half had come to the shelter from some place other than their own residence, and nearly one-quarter had been to some shelter prior to the most recent incident, suggesting that abuse had been occurring prior to the incident that led them to the shelter. Nearly three-quarters of the clients came to the shelter with their children. The majority of clients reported being victims of multiple types of abuse, including verbal, mental or emotional, physical, and sexual. According to 23 percent of the clients, the most recent incident took place within 3 days of the interview. Seventy-nine percent reported that some type of weapon, body part, or object was used against them in the most recent incident. Sixty-six percent reported that they sustained some type of injury in the most recent incident. There was an association between abuse and the abuser having been abused in childhood. A substantial proportion of shelter clients have experienced legal involvement; specifically, having the police come to their households due to abuse. The prevalence of clients with multiple needs suggest a necessity for further research to document the transitional services and options available to clients once they leave the shelter. 17 tables, 54 references, appendix