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About Domestic Violence

What is Abuse?

Jane Doe, Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, defines domestic violence as,

“A pattern of behavior where one person tries to control the thoughts, beliefs, or actions of a partner, friend or any other person close to them. While the violence may cause injury, it does not have to be physical. Domestic violence also takes the form of emotional, verbal, mental, sexual and economic abuse.”

Domestic violence can impact any person at any time in his or her life. Domestic violence impacts people of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations and income levels. Although any person can be affected by abuse, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that more than 90% of all the victims of domestic violence are female.

National Statistics
On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriend in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. That same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistic Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence 1993-2001, February 2003.)

In 2000, 41,740 women were victims of rape/sexual assault committed by an intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistic Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence 1993-2001, February 2003.)

In 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490 women) were victims of non-fatal violence committed by an intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistic Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence 1993-2001, February 2003.)

Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. (Silverman, J. G., Raj, A., Mucci, L. A., & Hathaway, J. E. (2001). Dating violence against adolescent girls and associated substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, suicidality. JAMS, 286 (5).)

Husbands and boyfriends commit an estimated 13,000 acts of violence against women in the workplace each year. (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994.)

In figures reflective of the general population, 1 in 4 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people are battered by a partner. (Jane Doe, Inc.)

When children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under the age of 10; 56% are under the age of 2. (Florida’s Governor’s Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Review Project, 1997, p.51, table 28.)

As a result of domestic violence, 96 % of abused employees experience problems at work; 74% are harassed by the abuser while at work; 56% are late to work; 28% leave work early; and 54% miss entire days of work. (American Institute on Domestic Violence.)

Massachusetts Statistics
During Fiscal Year 2006, the statewide domestic violence hotline, SAFELINK, answered 21,637 domestic violence calls and another 3,373 calls from people looking for general information on resources available. (Jane Doe, Inc. Service Delivery Report.)

In Fiscal Year 2005, more than 33,000 women, men and children were served by community-based domestic violence programs in Massachusetts. (Jane Doe, Inc Service Delivery Report.)

During calendar year 2005, 28,760 Orders of Abuse Prevention, commonly referred to as restraining orders or 209As, were issued: 82% of the defendants were male. During this same time period, 4,347 adults (88% of whom were men) were arraigned for violating restraining orders. (Research Department, Field Services Division, Office of the Commissioner of Probation, Boston, MA)

During calendar year 2007, there were 55 deaths related to domestic violence. This is an increase of approximately 289% over calendar year 2005. (Jane Doe, Inc.)

Photo of Mother and daughterDOVE Statistics
On an annual basis, more than…

  • 1,500 crisis hotline calls are answered by DOVE’s trained staff.
  • 150 families find a safe haven at DOVE’s Emergency Shelter.
  • 300 community families receive case management, advocacy, counseling and support through DOVE’s Outreach & Family Services Center.
  • 350 people receive guidance and assistance with legal matters through DOVE’s Legal Advocacy Program.
  • 2,000 teenagers learn about safe and healthy relationships through DOVE’s YouthSpeak program
  • 2,500 professionals and concerned community members gain education and skills through DOVE’s Outreach & Education Program, enabling them to better support and service survivors of domestic violence and their families.