II. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE
Domestic violence is the “willful intimidation, physical assault, battery,
sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate
partner against another.”
4 This definition includes heterosexual and same-
sex couples, as well as married couples and those who are dating and living
5 Emotional and/or psychological abuse may include threats from
the abuser to take away all of the family’s assets, including custody of the
children, and could also include financial threats that could leave the victim
unable to care for herself or her children.
While both men and women are victims of domestic violence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that eighty-five percent of
domestic violence victims are women.
7 Violence against women has
reached epidemic proportions: more than one in three women in the United
States have experienced physical violence in their lifetime, and about three
in ten women experience intimate partner-related physical assaults and
rapes occur every year.
Domestic violence is a widespread problem among all demographics.
Because at least eighty-five percent of victims are women, most research
focuses on women as victims of domestic violence. That is not to say that
men are not victims of domestic violence; however, domestic violence
committed against men is largely unstudied. Statistics show that African
American women experience higher rates of domestic violence than white
4. National Coal. Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Facts,
http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf (last visited May 22,
6. LINDA E. SALTZMAN ET AL., CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION, NAT’L CTR.
FOR INJURY PREVENTION & CONTROL, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE SURVEILLANCE:
UNIFORM DEFINITIONS AND RECOMMENDED DATA ELEMENTS (2d printing 2002) 12-13, available at
7. Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention, Nat’l Ctr. for Injury Prevention & Control,
Understanding Intimate Partner Violence Fact Sheet (2006), http://www.cdc.gov/violence
prevention/pdf/IPV-Factsheet.pdf; see also Domestic Violence Facts, supra note 4.
C. BLACK ET AL., CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION, NAT’L CTR.
FOR INJURY PREVENTION & CONTROL, THE NATIONAL INTIMATE PARTNER AND SEXUAL
VIOLENCE SURVEY: 2010 SUMMARY REPORT
39 (2011) [hereinafter SEXUAL VIOLENCE
SURVEY], available at
see also Domestic Violence Facts, supra note 4.
9. See generally Am. Bar Ass’n, Domestic Violence Statistics, http://www.americanbar
.org/groups/domestic_violence/resources/ statistics.html (last visited May 22, 2014) (
discussing the prevalence and types of domestic violence as well as statistics regarding its specific
effects on multiple demographics); see also The Women’s Ctr., Violence and Domestic
Abuse – Myths and Facts, http://thewomenscenter.org/content.asp?contentid=537 (last visited May 22, 2014) (discussing myths regarding the demographics which are most effected by