19 Surprising Unreported Domestic Violence Statistics

With the exposure of domestic violence in the National Football League with Ray Rice and his wife, there has been a renewed effort as of late to stop these brutal acts from occurring. Despite an increased awareness and desire to help domestic violence victims, however, it is believed that a vast majority of cases still go unreported.

It is believed that up to 70% of the domestic violence that occurs globally every day is never reported to anyone.

Unreported Domestic Violence

The only real form of domestic violence that is regularly reported is stalking. About 50% of stalking victims will say something is happening to them or report the incident to police. As for other forms of abuse, it is believed that only 25% of physical assaults are ever reported and only 1 out of every 5 rapes is ever reported to police. In order to put a stop to this problem, we as a society must find a way for the victims of domestic violence to not only feel safe, but be protected from the abusers whom they love.

  • For every woman who does report a domestic violence incident to police, it is estimated that she will have been assaulted by her partner a minimum of 35 previous times.
  • Family violence accounted for 11% of all reported and unreported incidents from 1998-2002.
  • 49% of the violent crime that occurs between family members is committed against a spouse.
  • Acts of domestic violence plague all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • 15% of men become victims of domestic violence crimes.

Although the emphasis on domestic violence is typically protection against a spouse, and for good reason because this accounts for 1.75 million incidents in just 4 years, the children of a family that experiences violence cannot be forgotten. 11% of the victims of domestic violence in a BJS study were kids. In real numbers, that means over 350,000 kids were targeted by their parents for violent victimization in just a 4 year period. Simple assault is the most common form of domestic violence and 60% of the time a serious injury does not occur, but the fact remains that unreported domestic violence continues to be a secret hell that many families face every day. We must communicate that there is hope.

Who Are The Victim Of Unreported Domestic Violence?

  • The majority of domestic violence victims are women, accounting for 73% of the cases that are reported and unreported.
  • Being married provides just a 2% reduction of risk for women to be abused by their partners in a violent manner.
  • Three out of the four perpetrators of domestic violence are men and the most common form of family violence is a man committing an act of violence against his female partner.
  • White households outperform the amount of reported and unreported domestic violence, accounting for 74% of all expected cases. The most common offender is a white male between the age of 25-54.
  • Although less than 1% of domestic violence cases end in murder, they account for 22% of the national murder rate in the United States.
  • 80% of the murders that occur because of family violence happen because a male in the family has chosen to act. 80% of the child victims of domestic violence are under the age of 13.
  • Despite these horrific statistics, the rate of family violence fell by 50% from 1993-2002 in the United States.

The fact that domestic violence rates have been dropping dramatically is good news. It means that we as a society are doing something right. It still means that there is work to do, however, because 7 out of every 10 instances of domestic violence will simply be ignored, swept under the rug, or will have people pretend like it isn’t a problem. Only 10% of violent victimizations come from domestic violence, but that doesn’t change the fact that more work can be done to stop the problem.

Why Does Domestic Violence Go Unreported?

  • According to BJS research, the most common reason [34% of cases] that victims of domestic violence gave for not reporting an incident was that it was a private or personal matter.
  • 12% of domestic violence victims who don’t report what has happened to them do so because they wish to protect their abuser.
  • In the period between 1998-2002, only 36% of the cases that were reported to police resulted in an arrest.
  • In May 2000, there were about 1,500 defendants who had been charged with a felony assault. 33% of them were charged because of a domestic violence incident.
  • The risks of a domestic violence incident increase dramatically when a partner has just one arrest for a misdemeanor or felony assault in the past, whether it is family related or not.
  • For offenders convicted in Federal court of a domestic violence incident, 79% of them came from a guilty plea being entered.
  • Only 45% of offenders who are sent to prison for a domestic violence incident receive a sentence that is greater than 24 months. In comparison, 77% of convicted defendants who assault a non-family member receive a 24+ month sentence.

Although we take domestic violence seriously on paper, the reality is that we don’t take it very seriously at all. We might even think that the victim has somehow caused this event to occur and place some blame on them rather than blame the abuser in the situation. One look at the sentencing patterns for domestic violence compared to non-domestic violence says it all. When you can get a lighter sentence because you beat up your spouse instead of beating up some stranger at the bar, it speaks volumes of what society’s expectations happen to be. Women who are aged 20-24 are at the greatest risk right now and domestic violence accounts for over 18 million visits to a mental health counselor annually. The time is now to stop the problem.

Domestic Violence Facts and Statistics