Neighborhoods and Intimate Partner Violence

By Emily M. Wright | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
The Importance of Intimate
Partner Violence and
Neighborhoods

Most people believe that strangers present the greatest threat of criminal perpetration. The reality, however, is that we are just as likely to be victimized in our own homes, “behind closed doors,” and by our loved ones as we are to be attacked on the street by strangers (Gelles & Straus, 1988). In fact, the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) Survey estimates that approximately 1.5 million women and over 800,000 men are victimized by intimate partner violence every year (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998).

In 2008, females were victimized by over 550,000 rape or sexual assaults, robbery, or aggravated or simple assaults by an intimate partner, while men were victimized by approximately 100,000 such acts (Catalano, Smith, Snyder, & Rand, 2009). The risk for women also increases over their lifetimes – it is estimated that over 22 percent of women will be physically assaulted by an intimate partner at some point in their lives (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). Although intimate partner violence most likely results in nonfatal injuries, the violence that occurs between partners can also be lethal. To demonstrate, intimate partners committed 14 percent of all homicides in the United States in 2007 (Catalano et al., 2009). Females are twice as likely to be killed by intimates as males. In 2007, 70 percent of intimate homicides involved female victims, a proportion that has changed very little since 1993 (Catalano et al., 2009). Additionally, over 60 percent of female homicide cases in 2007 were perpetrated by a family member or intimate partner (Catalano et al., 2009).

Like stranger violence, then, violence between intimates occurs at an alarmingly high rate and has the potential to cause serious injury or death to victims. Like stranger violence, too, researchers know much about the characteristics of many offenders and victims of intimate

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