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Violence Between Intimates

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1994
12 pages
M W Zawitz; P Klaus; R Bachman; P Langan; H Graziadei; C W Harlow
Publication Series
Publication Type
According to an analysis of the National Crime Victimization Survey for the 1987-1991 period, intimates committed an annual average of 621,015 rapes, robberies, or assaults; 51 percent of victims of intimate violence were attacked by boyfriends or girlfriends, 34 percent were attacked by spouses, and 15 percent were attacked by ex-spouses.
Most violence between intimates involved assault. Females were more likely than males to be victims of violence by intimates. About one in five females victimized by a spouse or an ex-spouse reported they had been victimized by three or more assaults during the past 6 months. Rates of intimate rape, robbery, and assault for both male and female victims were relatively constant over the 1987-1991 period, while murder rates involving intimate violence declined. Most murders of intimates were committed with firearms, and most female victims of intimate violence took some form of self-protective action. The most frequent reason female victims of intimate violence gave for not reporting to the police was that they believed the incident was a private matter. Nearly all large police agencies had written policies concerning domestic disturbances, over half of defendants who killed their spouse had a prior criminal history, most defendants in spousal murder cases were convicted, and persons convicted of killing their spouses were about as likely as other murderers to be convicted on the most serious arrest charge. Most convicted murderers were sentenced to a prison term, regardless of their relationship to the victim. Of those convicted of spouse murders, men received longer prison sentences than women. Background characteristics of prisoners who victimized intimates were similar to those of prisoners convicted of similar crimes who victimized nonintimates. Female inmates were more likely than male inmates to have harmed an intimate. 13 references, 11 tables, and 2 figures
Date Created: December 16, 2009