Get the facts

On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States1, and women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year2. Many of these women are mothers who often go to great and courageous lengths to protect their children from abusive partners.  In fact, some research has shown that the non-abusing parent is often the strongest protective factor in the lives of children who are exposed to domestic violence. However, growing up in a violent home may be a terrifying and traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of a child’s life, growth and development. In spite of this, we know that when properly identified and addressed, the effects of domestic violence on children can be mitigated

  • Almost 30 million American children will be exposed to family violence by the time they are 17 years old and one in four American children will experience violence between their parents/caregivers – that’s about 20. 5 million children. 3
  • More than 60 percent of the children surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year, either directly or indirectly (i.e., as a witness to a violent act; by learning of a violent act against a family member, neighbor, or close friend, or from a threat against their home or school.4
  • Men exposed to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and adult domestic violence as children were almost 4 times more likely
    than other men to have perpetrated domestic violence as adults, according to a large study.5
  • Incest accounts for half of all sexual abuse cases.6
  • Children that are exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.7
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.8
  • As many as 2.8 million children run away each year in the US. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one-third of these children are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography.9
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime while 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. 10
  • 1 in 6 women have been stalked during their lifetime. 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking in their lifetime. 11
  • 1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner while 1 in 7 men experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. 12
  • More than 1 in 9 (11 percent) of children surveyed were exposed to some form of family violence in the past year, including 1 in 15 (6.6 percent) ex­posed to intimate partner violence between parents (or between a parent and the parent’s partner). 13
  • One in four children (26 percent) was exposed to at least one form of family violence during their lifetimes. Most youth exposed to family violence, including 90 percent of those exposed to domestic violence, saw the violence, as opposed to hearing or experiencing it through other indirect forms of exposure. 14

For more statistics, information and data on incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and child well-being click on the Fact sheets below:

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 1 Intimate Partner Violence in the United States. 2006. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

2 CDC. Adverse Health Conditions and Health Risk Behaviors Associated with Intimate Partner Violence. 2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, February 8, 2008.

3 Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Ormrod, R. (2011). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence and other family violence (pgs. 1-12). Juvenile Justice Bulletin – NCJ 232272. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office

4 Finkelhor, D., Turner, H.A., Ormrod, R.K., and Hamby, S.L. 2009. Violence, crime, and exposure in a national sample of
children and youth. Pediatrics 124(5)(November).

5 Whitfield, C.L., Anda, R.F., Dube, S.R., Felitti, V.J. (2003). “Violent Childhood Experiences and the risk of Intimate Partner Violence as Adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 18. 166-185.

6 Havelin, K. (2000). Incest: Why Am I Afraid to Tell? Minnesota; Capstone Press.

7 Wolfe, D.A., Wekerle, C., Reitzel, D. and Gough, R. 1995. “Strategies to Address Violence in the Lives of High Risk Youth.” In Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women, edited by E. Peled, P.G. Jaffe and J.L Edleson. New York, NY: Sage Publications.

8 Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice and Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, 1993-2004.” December 2006.

9 National Incidence Study of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), OJJDP.                                                                                              

10Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report, Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

11Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report, Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

12Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report, Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

13 Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Ormrod, R. (2011). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence and other family violence (pgs. 1-12). Juvenile Justice Bulletin – NCJ 232272. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

14 Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Ormrod, R. (2011). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence and other family violence (pgs. 1-12). Juvenile Justice Bulletin – NCJ 232272. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office