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DOJ Press Release letterhead

Thursday, December 28, 2006
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Stu Smith
Phone: (202) 307-0784
TTY: (202) 514-1888


            Washington -- The intimate partner violence rate has declined since 1993, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. In 1993 nonfatal intimate partner violence was 5.8 victimizations per 1,000 U.S. residents 12 years old and older. By 2004 this rate had fallen to 2.6 victimizations per 1,000 individuals.

            An intimate partner is a current or former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or same-sex partner. Violence between intimates includes homicides, rapes, robberies and assaults committed by partners. During 2004 there were approximately 627,400 nonfatal intimate partner victimizations –– 475,900 against females and 151,500 against males. Approximately one-third of these offenses were serious violent crimes –– rapes, sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults –– and involved either serious injuries, weapons or sexual offenses.

            Long term trends in nonfatal intimate partner violence differ by gender. Non-fatal intimate partner victimization for females was about four victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 and older in 2004, down from about 10 in 1993. Non-fatal intimate partner violence for males remained relatively stable –– 1.6 victimizations per 1,000 males 12 years old and older in 1993, compared to 1.3 per 1,000 in 2004.

            The number of intimate partner homicide victims has declined since 1993, with greater declines seen for male victims. During 1993, the number of females murdered by intimates was 1,571, compared to 1,159 during 2004 –– a 26 percent decline. The number of males murdered by partners during 1993 was 698, compared to 385 –– a 45 percent decline.

            Overall intimate partner violence during 2004 remained unchanged from 2003, although some demographic groups experienced an increase. During that period the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence among black females increased from 3.8 to 6.6 victimizations per 1,000 females aged 12 and older. Non-fatal intimate partner violence for white males increased from 0.5 to 1.1 victimizations per 1,000 males age 12 and older.

            Between 1993 and 2004, non-fatal intimate partner victimizations represented 22 percent of violent victimizations against females and 3 percent of those against males aged 12 and older. Females and males who were separated or divorced reported the highest rates of nonfatal partner violence, whereas those who were married or widowed reported the lowest rates of such violence.

            The average annual rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence from 1993 to 2004 was highest for American Indian and Alaskan Native females at 18.2 victimizations per 1,000 females aged 12 and older. The risks also varied by age group. Females 20 to 24 years old were at the highest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Asian males, white males and the elderly reported the lowest rates of partner violence.

            For non-fatal intimate partner violence, as for violent crime in general, simple assault is the most common type of violent crime. Simple assault is an attack without a weapon that results either in no injury or a minor injury. One-third of female victims of non-fatal intimate partner violence between 1993 and 2004 reported that the offender was under the influence of alcohol during the victimization. One-fifth of male victims reported that the offender was under the influence of alcohol. Both male and female victims reported that their attacker was under the influence of drugs in about 6 percent of all victimizations.

            Overall, 21 percent of female victims and 10 percent of male victims contacted an outside agency for assistance. Female victims were more likely to contact a government agency than a private agency. Male victims were equally likely to contact a government or private agency for assistance.

            The webpage report, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States was written by BJS statistician Shannan Catalano. It can be found on the Internet at

            For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics statistical reports programs, please visit the BJS Web site at

            The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and an office: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at