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Rule of Thumb: A Five Year Overview of Domestic Violence in South Carolina 2004-2008

NCJ Number
Rob McManus
Date Published
May 2010
234 pages
This report estimates the prevalence and describes the characteristics of domestic violence in South Carolina, using the concept of "The Rule of Thumb" to refer both to the estimation without exact rules of measurement and the "thumb" as a measurement for the maximum thickness of a rod with which a husband could beat his wife under English common law.
Based on the study's estimates, there were differences in domestic violence victimization related to sex, age, race, and ethnicity. Victims were more often female, although 25.7 percent of victims were male. The highest rates of domestic violence were reported among young-adult victims (18-24 years old), followed middle-age victims (25-24 years old). Although 53 percent of domestic-violence victims were White, the victimization rate among the non-White population was 67.5 percent higher. Among Hispanics, the domestic-violence victimization rate was 35.8 percent lower than the victimization rate among the non-Hispanic population. Domestic-violence victims involved in a romantic relationship with their partners constituted 34.4 percent of the cases, followed by violence among family members (32.3 percent) and violence between spouses (30.8 percent). Violence against an ex-spouse was involved in only 2.6 percent of the cases of domestic violence. Between 2004 and 2008, the overall rate of domestic-violence victimization decreased 7.6 percent. A similar decline was found for domestic homicide (5-percent decline), domestic sexual assault (16.1-percent decrease), domestic aggravated assault (15.4-percent decline), domestic simple assault (3.2-percent decline), domestic intimidation (15.8-percent decrease), and the proxy indicator for criminal domestic violence (26.2 percent decrease). An exception to the general pattern of decline in forms of domestic violence, the victimization rate for violence that involved romantic partners increased 13 percent from 2004 to 2008. The data presented are based on incident reports submitted to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division by State and local law enforcement agencies. Extensive tables and figures, including data by county