Domestic Violence Calls for Assistance

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Learn More About Intimate Partner Violence

Measures of Intimate Partner Violence on Kidsdata.org
Kidsdata.org provides the number of domestic violence-related calls to law enforcement by county and city, along with county-level rates of domestic violence calls per 1,000 residents ages 18-69. Domestic violence—as defined in California Penal Code 13700—involves acts, attempts, or threats of bodily injury between adults or minors currently or formerly in a relationship of marriage, engagement, cohabitation, or dating, or who together have had a child.
Because intimate partner violence (IPV) is generally underreported, and the measure presented here captures only IPV that is physical in nature, figures on kidsdata.org likely understate the problem (1, 2).

1.  U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. (2018). Intimate partner violence. In 2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week resource guide. Retrieved from: https://ovc.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh226/files/ncvrw2018/info_flyers/fact_sheets/2018NCVRW_IPV_508_QC.pdf

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Preventing intimate partner violence. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html
Intimate Partner Violence
Child Abuse and Neglect
Children's Emotional Health
Pupil Support Services
Childhood Adversity and Resilience
School Climate
Foster Care
Why This Topic Is Important
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a preventable public health problem affecting millions in the U.S. (1). Nationwide, it is estimated that around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have been impacted by IPV in the form of stalking, sexual violence, or physical violence (1). Psychological aggression by intimate partners also is widespread, with 38 million men and 43 million women having experienced IPV in this form at some point in their lives (1). Victims of IPV can suffer psychological trauma, physical injury, and even death (2). Among U.S. female homicide victims, more than half are killed by current or past male intimate partners (1). Survivors face increased risk for a range of long-term adverse emotional, social, and health outcomes, and the effects extend beyond the direct victim (2, 3). Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. children have been exposed to IPV in their lifetimes, and an estimated 15.5 million live in households in which physical IPV occurred in the previous year (4, 5). These children—even if they are not the targets of violence—are at increased risk for physical, social, behavioral, and developmental problems (3, 4). Child witnesses of IPV also are at higher risk of becoming abusers or victims later in life (2).

Social and economic crises exacerbate IPV (6, 7). Increases in IPV have been documented in the period after the COVID-19 outbreak, as many families faced increased financial stress, unemployment, social isolation, anxiety, and other challenges (6, 8). IPV also exacts a substantial economic toll in medical care, lost productivity, criminal justice activities, and other costs (1, 9). These have been estimated at $8.3 billion annually and $3.6 trillion over the lifetimes of those impacted (1, 9).

While IPV occurs across all demographic groups, some are disproportionately affected, including young people, LGBTQ populations, pregnant women, and American Indian/Alaska Native and African American/black women (2, 9). For many victims, IPV begins early in life. Among U.S. survivors of stalking, sexual violence, and physical violence, an estimated 11 million women and 5 million men experienced some form of IPV before age 18 (1). Further, a national survey of dating youth ages 12-18 indicates that more than two-thirds (69%) have experienced physical, psychological, or sexual relationship abuse (10).
For more information about intimate partner violence, see kidsdata.org's Research & Links section.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Preventing intimate partner violence. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html

2.  Niolon, P. H., et al. (2017). Preventing intimate partner violence across the lifespan: A technical package of programs, policies, and practices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv-technicalpackages.pdf

3.  Anderson, K., & van Ee, E. (2018). Mothers and children exposed to intimate partner violence: A review of treatment interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9), 1955. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/9/1955

4.  Chamberlain, L. (2018). Updated comprehensive review of interventions for children exposed to domestic violence. Futures Without Violence. Retrieved from: http://promising.futureswithoutviolence.org/files/2018/11/FWV-Comprehensive-Review-2018.pdf

5.  Doyle, J. J., Jr., & Aizer, A. (2018). Economics of child protection: Maltreatment, foster care, and intimate partner violence. Annual Review of Economics, 10, 87-108. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6469872

6.  Bazyar, J., et al. (2021). Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the intimate partner violence and sexual function: A systematic review. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 36(5), 593-598. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8353191

7.  Schneider, D., et al. (2016). Intimate partner violence in the Great Recession. Demography, 53(2), 471-505. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4860387

8.  Rebbe, R., et al. (2021). Domestic violence alleged in California child maltreatment reports during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Family Violence. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10896-021-00344-8

9.  Gonzalez, B. (2018). Decreasing intimate partner violence during pregnancy through routine screening. Journal of Women's Health Care, 7(1), 413. Retrieved from: https://www.longdom.org/open-access/decreasing-intimate-partner-violence-during-pregnancy-through-routine-screening-41572.html

10.  Taylor, B., et al. (2021). Romantic relationship characteristics and adolescent relationship abuse in a probability-based sample of youth. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1-2), 722-750. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29294910
How Children Are Faring
In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 160,646 domestic violence-related calls were made to law enforcement in California. This represents a rate of 6.1 calls per 1,000 adults ages 18-69, similar to 2019 levels. Statewide, rates have decreased more than 30% compared with 1998, when there were 9.3 calls per 1,000 adults. The decline is evident at the county level, as well; rates fell in 42 of the 55 counties with data during this period. Despite the decline, county rates of domestic violence calls for assistance continue to vary widely, from fewer than 4 calls per 1,000 adults to more than 14 per 1,000 in 2020.
Policy Implications
Intimate partner violence (IPV) can have serious short- and long-term consequences on health and well being for victims and for children who witness it (1, 2). Children exposed to IPV and teen victims of dating violence are at increased risk for numerous emotional, behavioral, and physical health problems that can last into adulthood (1, 2, 3). IPV is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults compared with older populations, making early prevention efforts particularly important (1). Other groups especially vulnerable to IPV include pregnant women, American Indian/Alaska Native and African American/black women, LGBTQ groups, and immigrant women (1, 4, 5, 6). In addition to harmful individual and family consequences, IPV carries social costs estimated at $8.3 billion per year in the U.S. (4).

Economic conditions and policies influence trends in IPV. Those that alleviate family financial hardship and increase stability may help prevent or reduce IPV, whereas family instability such as that experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises has been linked to increased IPV (1, 7, 8, 9). Although many systems and services address aspects of IPV, they are most effective when they work collaboratively towards the same goals. Policymakers, child welfare agencies, first responders, family and dependency courts, criminal justice systems, schools, medical and mental health care providers, public health agencies, and community-based organizations all play an important role (1, 5). Comprehensive approaches focused on prevention at the individual, family, and community levels, in tandem with targeted interventions for high-risk groups, are most likely to be effective (1, 5, 10).

Policy and program options that could help prevent and address IPV include:
  • Supporting evidence-based, school-wide programs for middle and high school students to improve knowledge, attitudes, and norms regarding adolescent relationship aggression, and to help youth develop skills to build healthy relationships; such programs should be culturally appropriate and address how to recognize and respond to abuse, especially within vulnerable groups (1, 3)
  • Setting policies and providing adequate funding and support to create safe and supportive environments in schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods (1)
  • Strengthening economic supports and financial security for families (1, 7)
  • Promoting effective screening and early identification of IPV and improving readiness among health care providers, school professionals, and others who work with families to respond appropriately and connect families to services when needed (1, 4, 11)
  • Ensuring that evidence-based prevention and early intervention services—such as home visiting, parent education, and family relationship programs—are adequately funded and accessible, particularly for high-risk families (1, 2, 4, 5)
  • Promoting state and local cross-system collaboration to ensure access to culturally appropriate, trauma-informed services for adults and teens experiencing IPV, as well as for child witnesses; responses should be comprehensive and coordinated, integrating health and mental health care, schools, child welfare, domestic violence services, law enforcement, courts, housing services, and other community resources (1, 5)
  • Institutionalizing trauma-informed practices among doctors, nurses, educators, social workers, juvenile justice staff, and other professionals who work with children, teens, and families (1, 5)
  • Supporting efforts to study and advance effective services to prevent and address IPV, especially among diverse populations (e.g., communities of color, LGBTQ groups, and immigrants), as well as services for children exposed to violence (1, 2, 5)
For more information related to intimate partner violence, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, and love is respect. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under Child Abuse and Neglect and Childhood Adversity and Resilience.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  Niolon, P. H., et al. (2017). Preventing intimate partner violence across the lifespan: A technical package of programs, policies, and practices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv-technicalpackages.pdf

2.  Anderson, K., & van Ee, E. (2018). Mothers and children exposed to intimate partner violence: A review of treatment interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9), 1955. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/9/1955

3.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Preventing teen dating violence. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teendatingviolence/fastfact.html

4.  Gonzalez, B. (2018). Decreasing intimate partner violence during pregnancy through routine screening. Journal of Women's Health Care, 7(1), 413. Retrieved from: https://www.longdom.org/open-access/decreasing-intimate-partner-violence-during-pregnancy-through-routine-screening-41572.html

5.  Chamberlain, L. (2018). Updated comprehensive review of interventions for children exposed to domestic violence. Futures Without Violence. Retrieved from: http://promising.futureswithoutviolence.org/files/2018/11/FWV-Comprehensive-Review-2018.pdf

6.  Marrs Fuchsel, C. L., & Brummett, A. (2021). Intimate partner violence prevention and intervention group-format programs for immigrant Latinas: A systematic review. Journal of Family Violence, 36, 209-221. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10896-020-00160-6

7.  Schneider, D., et al. (2016). Intimate partner violence in the Great Recession. Demography, 53(2), 471-505. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4860387

8.  Bazyar, J., et al. (2021). Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the intimate partner violence and sexual function: A systematic review. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 36(5), 593-598. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8353191>

9  Rebbe, R., et al. (2021). Domestic violence alleged in California child maltreatment reports during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Family Violence. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10896-021-00344-8

10.  Dills, J., et al. (2019). Continuing the dialogue: Learning from the past and looking to the future of intimate partner violence and sexual violence prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv/Continuing-The-Dialogue-508.pdf

11.  Hegarty, K., et al. (2020). Health practitioners' readiness to address domestic violence and abuse: A qualitative meta-synthesis. PLoS ONE, 15(6), e0234067. Retrieved from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234067
Websites with Related Information
Key Reports and Research
County/Regional Reports
More Data Sources For Intimate Partner Violence