Department of Justice Reports Drop in Intimate Partner Violence Rates

By Shiri Ahronovich, JWI Fellow

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a special report announcing an overall drop in intimate partner violence rates for both male and female victims by 64% from 1994 to 2010.

However, the report also found that the decline in intimate partner violence has slowed down and stabilized in the most recent 10-year period (2001 to 2010), even though the overall violence crime rate continues to decline. Additionally, the special report reveals that most intimate partner violence is perpetrated against women; about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female from 1994 to 2010. The report was developed from the BJS’ National Crime Victimization Survey, which collects information from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

While this conveys progress, we must not overlook that the decline in intimate partner violence has slowed down and a disproportionate number of victims continue to be women. These findings show that intimate partner violence continues to be an issue of gender-based violence. While the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), first passed in 1994, has played a pivotal role in reducing rates of violence for so many women, VAWA must be reauthorized and improved upon so that we can continue to see real progress.

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