This file is provided for reference purposes only. It was current when produced, but is no longer maintained and may now be outdated. Please send an email for questions or for further information.
Office of Justice Programs SealU.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Innovation. Partnerships. Safer Neighborhoods.
OJP Fact SheetOJP Fact Sheet

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.


Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. It also occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.

Domestic violence affects not only those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, coworkers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those most seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life—thereby increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.

For more information, please see the Office on Violence Against Women’s Domestic Violence Web page.

What OJP Is Doing

Several components within the Department of Justice (DOJ) are reaching out to end domestic violence and alleviate its effects. As part of the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood initiative to combat children’s exposure to violence, OJP is sponsoring demonstration programs and research and awareness efforts. As an initial step in 2010 and 2011, OJP awarded grants to help communities develop comprehensive, multidisciplinary plans to improve their prevention, intervention, and response systems for children exposed to violence.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cosponsor the National Violence Against Women Survey, which revealed that violence is more widespread and detrimental to women’s and men’s health than had been previously thought. NIJ is currently working with CDC and the Department of Defense on a new survey, the National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Surveillance System, to be released in late 2011. NIJ also released a summary of domestic violence research for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges on the crime’s perpetrators and victims, as well as the implications of that research for practitioners and policymakers.

For the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), domestic violence has long been a priority area for funding available under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which OVC administers. States and territories are required to allocate a minimum of 10 percent of their VOCA assistance funds to serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, thereby making VOCA funds a primary source of federal support for the more than 1,920 domestic violence programs and shelters in the country. OVC also provides discretionary funds to reach special populations of underserved victims of domestic violence, such as those whose first language is not English. In addition to conducting public awareness and outreach campaigns to inform victims of their rights and the services available to them, OVC funds a crisis response program that serves victims living abroad through the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

Outside OJP, DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women provides national leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The office does this by administering financial and technical assistance to communities for programs, policies, and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

November 2011
I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.
–President Barack Obama
     2011 Domestic Violence Awareness
     Month Proclamation
Fast Facts
  • In 2007, there were an estimated 2,340 domestic violence fatalities, including 1,640 females and 700 males.
  • Females age 12 or older experienced about 552,000 nonfatal violent victimizations by an intimate partner in 2008.
  • Women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner physical assaults and rapes each year.
  • Men experience about 2.9 million intimate partner physical assaults each year.
  • Children were living in the home in 38 percent of the domestic violence incidents against women and 21 percent of the incidents against men.
  • Domestic violence-related medical and mental health services and lost productivity cost more than $8.3 billion in 2003.

Sources: Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey; Intimate Partner Violence; Violence Prevention

Contact Us
Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
Phone: 202???307???0703
Web site:
bottom border
This file is provided for reference purposes only. It was current when produced, but is no longer maintained and may now be outdated. Please send an email for questions or for further information.