A survey of murder cases disposed in 1988 in the courts of large
urban counties indicated that 16 percent of murder victims were
members of the defendant's family. (Dawson John M. And Patrick A.
Langan, Ph.D., 1994, "Murder in Families," U.S. Department of
Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D.C.)
Among murder victims, 6.5 percent were killed by their spouses,
and 3.5 percent by their parents, 1.9 percent by their own children,
1.5 percent by their siblings, and 2.6 percent by some other family
In large urban counties, the average prison sentence length on a
murder or nonnegligent manslaughter conviction (excluding life
sentences or the death penalty) was-- *17.5 years for men convicted
of killing their wives * 6.2 years for women convicted of killing
* * * * *
The background characteristics of prisoners who victimized
intimates were similar to those of prisoners convicted of similar
crimes who victimized nonintimates
Female prisoners are more likely than male prisoners to have
harmed an intimate.
In 1991, of the State prisoners incarcerated for violent
crimes excluding robbery, over a quarter of the female prisoners and
a tenth of the male prisoners harmed an intimate. About a third of
the female prisoners incarcerated for homicide killed their husband,
ex-husband, or boyfriend.
LINK: REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR
SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
In any given year, nationwide, men are the preeminent
victims of homicide (1976-96: 76.3% - 340,687) compared with women
(1976-96: 23.7% - 105,175).
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook,
1998: "Violence by Intimates":
In the two decades 1976-1996, nearly 52,000 men and women have
been murdered by those with whom they shared an intimate
The distribution of categories of murderers was similar for the
male and female victims of intimate murder between 1976 and
During the two decades, 31,260 women were intimate murder
64% killed by husbands,
32% by non-marital partners such as boyfriends.
New England Journal of Medicine -- February 17, 2000 -- Vol. 342,
To the Editor:
In their article on domestic violence, Eisenstat and Bancroft
ignore a considerable body of evidence, most recently reconfirmed by
Schafer et al., (1) that
demonstrates that men and women are equally likely to be victims of
domestic violence. What differs markedly are the consequences to the
victim. Women are far more likely to suffer death or serious injury.
Nonetheless, it is inaccurate to state that "more than 90 percent of
cases involve women being abused by men." Furthermore, the assertion
of rising prevalence is not substantiated in the literature; what
has changed is our awareness of and willingness to act against this
enormous social problem.
Although "neither victims nor batterers fit a distinct
personality or socioeconomic profile," there clearly are risk
factors for domestic violence that Eisenstat and Bancroft chose not
to discuss. These factors include lower socioeconomic status, lower
educational level, urban residence, a history of violent behavior,
younger age, and a relationship other than marriage between the
abuser and the victim (that is, they are separated, divorced, or
have never been married).
Francis X. Brickfield, M.D.
3910 Tallow Tree Court
Fairfax, VA 22033
1. Schafer J, Caetano R, Clark CL. Rates
of intimate partner violence in the United States. Am
J Public Health 1998;88:1702-4.
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Am J Public Health 1998 Nov;88(11):1702-4
Rates of intimate partner violence in the United States.
Schafer J, Caetano R, Clark CL
Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, OH
45221-0376, USA. email@example.com
OBJECTIVES: Estimates of intimate partner violence in the United
States based on representative samples have relied on data from one
person per household or limited numbers of indicators from both
partners. The purpose of this study was to estimate nationwide rates
of intimate partner violence with data from both couple members by
using a standardized survey instrument, the Conflict Tactics Scale.
METHODS: A multistage probability sampling design was used to
conduct separate face-to-face interviews in respondents' homes with
both members of 1635 representative couples living in the 48
contiguous states. RESULTS: Both partners' reports were used to
estimate the following lower- and upper-bound rates: 5.21% and
13.61% for male-to-female partner violence, 6.22% and 18.21% for
female-to-male partner violence, and 7.84% to 21.48% for any
partner-to-partner violence. CONCLUSIONS: High rates of intimate
partner violence in the United States corroborate previous claims
that the amount of intimate partner violence is substantial.
DA*DI: the above research outcomes are nearly identical to those
found a decade earlier by Strauss and Geller and others.
To the Editor:
The overwhelming body of research points to parity between men
and women as perpetrators of intimate violence, yet in their review,
Eisenstat and Bancroft cite selectively a small number of articles
to bolster the notion that domestic violence is an exercise of male
oppression. Most research demonstrates that the rates are roughly
equal and that women are more likely to initiate violence than men.
(1) The article
perpetuates the false notion that men constitute the majority of
child abusers, even though federal statistics clearly show that
women are the perpetrators of almost 61 percent of child abuse.
Women are the perpetrators of 55.3 percent of physical abuse, 71.9
percent of neglect, 78.3 percent of medical neglect, and 57 percent
of emotional abuse. Men constitute the majority of perpetrators only
of sexual abuse (71.5 percent), but sexual abuse accounts for only
15.3 percent of child abuse. (2)
Wayne Blackmon, M.D., J.D.
George Washington University Law
Washington, DC 20052
1. Fiebert MS. References examining
assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated
bibliography. Sex Cult 1997;1:273-86.
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2. Child maltreatment 1996: reports from the
states to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.
Washington, D.C.: National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - CHILD VICTIMS AND
PERPSWait Till Your Father Gets Home
Source: Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1997
Update on Violence
Child abuse data submitted to the federal government generally do
not include specific information on the relationship of the abuser
to the abused.
However, among those states that do collect such data, biological
mothers are much more likely to abuse/neglect their children (68% -
70%) than are biological fathers (30% - 32%).
abuse was linked to 63% of maltreatment deaths.
Detailed information from States (7-10) reporting case-level
data on victims of substantiated or indicated maltreatment in 1993
found the following:
- Neglect was the most common form of maltreatment found among
all age groups (57%). Younger children (under age 8) were more
likely than older children (ages 8-17) to have been neglected (65%
- Older victims were more likely than their younger counterparts
to have been physically (28% vs. 17%) or sexually abused (18% vs.
- Female victims were more likely than males to have experienced
sexual abuse (19% vs. 6%) and less likely to have experienced
neglect (53% vs. 61%).
- 50% of deaths resulting from child maltreatment were linked to
neglect; 63% were linked to physical abuse.
- Almost one-half (43%) of all deaths involved children under 1
year and 4 in 5 (81%) were under 4 years.
- More than one-half (56%) of fatalities were male.
Over 1,000 children died as a result of maltreatment in
The 1994 national summary data on substantiated or indicated
maltreatment found the following:
- 53% of victims were female.
- 59% of victims were white, 27% were black, 10% were Hispanic,
and 4% were other races.
- 20% of victims were age 2 or younger, 53% were age 7 or
younger, and 6% were age 16 or older.
- 4 in 5 perpetrators were parents of the victim.
- A reported 1,111 children died as the result of maltreatment
- About 13% of victims in substantiated or indicated cases were
removed from their homes.
Most perpetrators were female and under age 40 in
The 1993 case-level data on perpetrators of substantiated or
indicated maltreatment were provided by seven States. This
information showed that:
- 62% of perpetrators were female.
- Most perpetrators under age 40 were female (65%).
- 63% of perpetrators were associated with only one victim, 19%
were associated with two victims, 10% with three victims, and 8%
with four or more victims.
Comments from the Men's Health Network:
Many apologists for maternal abuse/neglect claim "opportunity" as
a justification for the higher maternal-abuse figures, and with some
justification. For instance, a study of inner city child abuse
(Lansing) published in a major journal in 1984 indicated that
approximately 50% of the confirmed child abuse/neglect was committed
by single parent mothers.
"Opportunity" is somewhat offset by the "you just wait until your
father gets home" pressure for a father to punish children for an
infraction committed under the mother's supervision.
The "opportunity" excuse fades further in a 10-year study of
confirmed parental child abuse/neglect in a state that awards over
40% "visitation" time to separated noncustodial parents (usually
fathers). In that state, prior to the state-wide guideline, 64% of
confirmed child abuse was committed by mothers, 36% by fathers.
Following implementation of the "visitation" guideline, the gap has
widened and now stands at 69%-70% mothers, 30%-31% fathers.
Few realize that most (70 percent) of all child abuse (at ALL
levels of trauma) are caused by women. This, of course, flies in the
face of conventional wisdom that women aren't violent.
Contemporary society focuses so much attention on DV between
women and men where - contrary to the politically correct info - the
abuse (at ALL levels of violence) is 48% to 52%, respectively,
(Steinmetz, Straus and Gelles reported this as early as 1976).
The reality is that 18,000 children a year are PERMANENTLY
disabled from their abuse. The numbers of permanently disabled women
from DV situations is a mere handful, by comparison.
Currently, Women have such tremendous lobbying clout as to be
able to literally obfuscate the very real and serious problem of
their own violent behavior - to the extent female violence never
makes it into the policy sphere. Policymakers don't even consider
child abuse to be DV - as evidenced by the dominant discourse
centering on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The implications of the foregoing are clear. Until we as a
society can begin to accept that violence is NOT
gender-specific (male), but that it IS limited to a small
(approximately 16%) subset of the population, we cannot begin to
address meaningful intervention.
Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
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