CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, December 29, 2006

Decline in Domestic Violence: Silent Suffering or Steady Improvement?

From In a sweeping study of crime in the American household, the Justice Department reported Thursday that domestic violence, one of the most common offenses against women, has fallen by more than half since 1993.

Assaults, rapes, homicides and robberies against a current or former partner dropped from about 10 per 1,000 women in 1993 to four per 1,000 in 2004, researchers found.

The downward trend in violence by "intimate partners" — current and former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends — mirrors an overall national decrease in violent crime since the early 1990s, justice officials said. While the study did not attempt to explain the decline in domestic violence, some experts have credited more vigorous law enforcement, increased education and an expanded network of services for battered partners, said Shannan Catalano, a bureau statistician and the report's author.

But she and others emphasized that the report may not reflect the actual level of violence taking place behind closed doors. Indeed, the apparent decline could mean that women are choosing to suffer in silence rather than seek help. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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