Families and Domestic Violence

Module Sections:

Scope of the Issue

Domestic violence is one of the many crises facing families today. It destroys the social, economic, mental and physical well being of men, women, children and the family as a whole. Although many responses are targeted primarily toward adult victims of abuse, attention is now being given to children who witness domestic violence. Studies show that 10 to 20 percent of children are at risk for exposure to domestic violence. This has led to more attention being given to children who witness domestic violence, as opposed to responses primarily being targeted at adult victims of abuse. In fact, there are adults and children in 30 to 60 percent of families experiencing domestic violence (Edleson, 1999).

Prevalence of Domestic Abuse

According to the US Department of Justice (2005), family violence accounted for 33% of all violent crimes recorded by police in 18 states and the District of Columbia in 2000.  The majority of family violence offenders (93%) in state prisons in 1997 were male. Of these more than 207,000 family violence crimes, about half (53%, or 110,000) were crimes between spouses.

Audio Companion: Families and Domestic Violence