One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.1

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.5

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.8

Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.14

In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder. 

Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.

Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.16

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.17

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.17

There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion.


There is no way to tell for sure if someone is experiencing domestic
violence. Those who are battered, and those who abuse, come in all personality
types. Battered women are not always passive with low self-esteem, and batterers
are not always violent or hateful to their partner in front of others. Most
people experiencing relationship violence do not tell others what goes on at
home. So how do you tell?

Here are some signs to look for:

Injuries and Excuses:
In some cases, bruises and injuries may occur
frequently and be in obvious places. When this happens, the intent of the
batterer is to keep the victim isolated and trapped at home. When black eyes and
other bruising is a result of an assault, the person being battered may be
forced to call in sick to work, or face the embarrassment and excuses of how the
injuries occurred. In other cases, bruises and other outward injuries never
occur. When there are frequent injuries seen by others, the one being battered
may talk about being clumsy, or have elaborate stories of how the injuries
occurred. The truth about the source of injuries will not usually be told unless
the one told could be trusted and/or the one being battered wants help to end
the relationship.

Absences from Work or School:
When severe beatings or other trauma
related to violence occurs, the one being battered may take time off from
his/her normal schedule. If you see this happening, or the person is frequently
late, this could be a sign of something (such as relationship violence)

Low Self-Esteem: Some
battered women have low self-esteem, while
others have a great deal of confidence and esteem in other areas of their life
(at work, as a mother, with hobbies, etc.) but not within their relationship. In
terms of dealing with the relationship, a sense of powerlessness and low
self-esteem may exist. A battered woman may believe that she could not make it
on her own without her partner and that she is lucky to have him in her

Accusations of Having Affairs: This is a common tactic used by
batterers as an attempt to isolate their partners and as an excuse for a
beating. It could include accusations of looking at other men, wanting to be
with other men, or having affairs with the man bagging groceries at the local
supermarket. Friends of the couple may observe this at times, but what is seen
in public is usually only a small fraction of what the battered woman
experiences at home.

Personality Changes: People may notice that a very outgoing person,
for instance, becomes quiet and shy around his/her partner. This happens because
the one being battered “walks on egg shells” when in the presence of the one who
is abusive to her. Accusations (of flirting, talking too loudly, or telling the
wrong story to someone) have taught the abused person that it is easier to act a
certain way around the batterer than to experience additional accusations in the

Fear of Conflict: As a result of being battered, some may generalize
the experience of powerlessness with other relationships. Conflicts with
co-workers, friends, relatives, and neighbors can create a lot of anxiety. For
many, it is easier to give in to whatever someone else wants than to challenge
it. Asserting one’s needs and desires begins to feel like a battle, and not
worth the risks of losing.

Not Knowing What One Wants or How One Feels: For adults or children
who have experienced violence from a loved one, the ability to identify feelings
and wants, and to express them, may not exist. This could result in
passive-aggressive behavior. Rather than telling others what you want, you say
one thing but then express your anger or frustration in an aggressive manner
(such as scratching his favorite car, burning dinner, or not completing a report
on time for your boss).

Blaming Others for Everything: The abuse, which usually includes the
batterer blaming others for everything that goes wrong, is usually targeted at a
partner or ex-partner. For example, a simple drive somewhere could turn into a
violent situation if the batterer blames the partner and/or children for getting
them lost. Co-workers and relatives may observe this type of behavior, and it
may be directed at others as well.

Self-blame: You may notice someone taking all of the blame for things
that go wrong. A co-worker may share a story about something that happened at
home and then take all of the blame for whatever occurred. If you notice this
happening a lot, it may be a sign that one is taking all of the blame is being

Aggressive or Care-taking Behavior in Children: Children who live in
violent homes may take that experience with them to school and to the
playground. Often the class bully is a child who sees violence in his home
(directed at mom, or at some or all of the children in the home). Children who
seem very grown-up and are sensitive and attentive to others’ needs may see
violence at home as well.