Domestic Violence: Statistics Worldwide

A summary of facts and statistics obtained from the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) project—the most comprehensive domestic violence research database available.


Partner Abuse State of Knowledge


Over the years, research on partner abuse has become unnecessarily fragmented and politicized. The purpose of The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK) is to bring together in a rigorously evidence-based, transparent and methodical manner existing knowledge about partner abuse with reliable, up-to-date research that can easily be accessed both by researchers and the general public.

In March 2010, the Senior Editor of the Partner Abuse journal recruited family violence scholars from the United States, Canada and the U.K. to conduct an extensive and thorough review of the empirical literature, in 17 broad topic areas. Researchers were asked to conduct a formal search for published, peer-reviewed studies through standard, widely-used search programs, and then catalogue and summarize all known research studies relevant to each major topic and its sub-topics. In the interest of thoroughness and transparency, the researchers agreed to summarize all quantitative studies published in peer-reviewed journals after 1990, as well as any major studies published prior to that time, and to clearly specify exclusion criteria. Included studies are organized in extended tables, each table containing summaries of studies relevant to its particular sub-topic.

In this unprecedented undertaking, a total of 42 scholars and 70 research assistants at 20 universities and research institutions spent two years or more researching their topics and writing the results. Approximately 12,000 studies were considered and more than 1,700 were summarized and organized into tables. The 17 manuscripts, which provide a review of findings on each of the topics, for a total of 2,657 pages, appear in 5 consecutive special issues of Partner Abuse published between April, 2012 and April, 2013. All conclusions, including the extent to which the research evidence supports or undermines current theories, are based strictly on the data collected.[1][2][3][4][5]

The following countries are included in the PASK database:

  • Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
  • Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, East Timor, India, Japan, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Europe: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
  • Latin America: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  • Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey.

Domestic Violence (DV), or Intimate Partner Violence, is defined as the physical and psychological maltreatment of an intimate partner.

1. Prevalence of Physical DV Victimisation

PASK review #1: Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships, Part 1: Rates of male and female victimization.[6][7] 543 reports reviewed.

  • Overall, 24% of individuals were victimized by physical DV
  • 23% of women and 19.3% of men victimized by physical DV
    • Higher victimization for male high school students
    • Higher lifetime victimization rates for women
    • Higher past-year victimization rates for men
2. Prevalence of Physical DV Perpetration

PASK review #2: Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships, Part 2: Rates of male and female perpetration.[8][9] 272 reports reviewed.

  • Overall, 25.3% of individuals have perpetrated physical DV
  • 28.3% of women and 21.6% of men perpetrated physical DV
    • Wide range in reported rates due to variety of samples and definitions
3. Prevalence of Psychological and Control DV

PASK review #5: Prevalence of partner abuse: Rates of emotional abuse and control.[10][11] 204 reports reviewed.

  • Overall, 80% of individuals have perpetrated psychological DV
  • Expressive abuse (in response to a provocation)
    • 40% of women and 32% of men reported expressive abuse
  • Coercive abuse (intended to monitor, control and/or threaten)
    • 41% of women and 43% of men reported coercive abuse
  • Sexual coercion
    • 4.5% of women and 0.2% of men reported sexual coercion
4. Bidirectional versus Unidirectional DV

PASK review #3: Rates of bidirectional versus unidirectional intimate partner violence across samples, sexual orientations and race/ethnicities: A comprehensive review.[12][13] 50 reports reviewed.

  • Large population and community samples
    • 57.9% was bidirectional DV
    • 28.3% was female unidirectional DV
    • 13.8% was male unidirectional DV
  • School and college samples
    • 51.9% was bidirectional DV
    • 31.9% was female unidirectional DV
    • 16.2% was male unidirectional DV
  • Female-oriented legal/clinical/treatment samples (non-military)
    • 72.3% was bidirectional DV
    • 14.4% was female unidirectional DV
    • 13.3% was male unidirectional DV
  • Military and male treatment samples
    • 39% of was bidirectional DV
    • 17.3% was female unidirectional DV
    • 43.4% was male unidirectional DV
5. Motivations for DV Perpetration

PASK review #10: Motivations for men and women’s intimate partner violence perpetration.[14][15] 75 reports reviewed.

  • Power/control motives (9 comparisons)
    • 3 reported no differences, 1 reported mixed findings
    • 1 reported women had higher power/control motives
    • 3 reported men had higher power/control motives
  • Anger/negative emotional motives
    • 2 reported women were more likely to be motivated by anger
    • None reported men were more likely
  • Self-defence motives (10 comparisons)
    • Endorsed only by a minority of men and women
    • 4 reported no differences
    • 5 reported women were more likely to report self-defence motives
    • 1 reported men were more likely
      • Men highly reluctant to report self-defence motives
    • Non-perpetrator samples
      • 5%–35% for women and 0%–21% for men
    • Perpetrator samples (who may have reasons to overestimate)
      • 65.4% of women and 50% of men
6. DV Worldwide (85 Countries)

PASK review #14: Partner abuse worldwide.[16][17] 200 reports reviewed.

  • Physical DV (117 comparisons)
    • Higher rates of female perpetration in 73 comparisons (62%)
    • Higher rates of physical injury for female victims
  • Psychological/control DV (54 comparisons)
    • Higher rates of female perpetration in 36 comparisons (67%)
  • Sexual coercion (19 comparisons)
    • Higher rates of female perpetration in 7 comparisons (37%)
  • IDVS ‘dominance’ scores (32 nations)
    • Womens’ scores explained 47% of female DV
    • Mens’ scores not predictive of male DV
  • ‘Human Development Index’ not a predictor of either male or female DV
  • ‘Gender Inequality Index’ not a predictor of either male or female DV
7. Risk Factors for DV

PASK review #4: A systematic review of risk factors for intimate partner violence.[18][19] 228 reports reviewed.

  • With few exceptions, risk factors the same for men and women
    • Married couples at lower risk than dating couples
    • Higher risk for separated women
    • Depression more strongly associated with female DV
    • Alcohol use more strongly associated with female DV
8. Judicial Decision Making in DV Cases

PASK review #12: Gender and racial/ethnic differences in criminal justice decision making in intimate partner violence cases.[20][21] 97 reports reviewed.

  • Women more likely to be cited rather than be taken into custody
  • Men more likely to be convicted
  • Men more likely to be given harsher sentences
  • Protective orders more likely to be granted to women
    • Even in cases involving minor partner conflicts
  • Mock juries more likely to assign blame to men
    • Even when presented with identical scenarios
  • Dual arrests more likely in same-sex couples

“Males were consistently treated more severely at every stage of the prosecution process, particularly regarding the decision to prosecute, even when controlling for other variables (e.g., the presence of physical injuries) and when examined under different conditions.”

* * *

There is little doubt that PASK is one of the most impressive undertakings in social science in recent years. PASK’s comprehensive reviews cut through the politicization of DV to raise some very important points.

DV is not the major social issue that it is made out to be.

The majority of what is picked up as ‘abuse’ in DV research consists of trivial conflicts that most people would hesitate to call ‘violence.’ When domestic conflicts are examined by severity, only a very small proportion—between 5–10%—of couples engage in severe domestic conflicts. These figures are not even remotely close to the scale portrayed by heavily politicized campaigns and reports on DV.

Where DV occurs, it is mostly perpetrated by women.

While most DV is mutual, over two-thirds of non-mutual violence is perpetrated by women, in both trivial and severe domestic conflicts, against both male and female partners, worldwide. DV-related deaths, which are rarely taken into account, are also disproportionately high among men.[22] These are not recent findings. Historical records show that women have always been the predominant perpetrators of violence in domestic and intimate environments. The first empirical studies of DV conducted in the 1970s reported equal or higher rates of perpetration by women.[23][24] Thus, PASK’s reviews have largely extended upon what has already been evident.

The major confound here is that female-perpetrated DV is under-reported. Unlike women, men tend not to consider themselves ‘victims’ of partner conflicts, nor do they view an assault on them by a woman as a ‘crime.’ As a consequence, men are hesitant to report domestic conflicts whereas women readily do so.[25] Within the same couples, self-report of DV victimization by men is less than half the self-report of perpetration by women, but the reporting disparities reverse for perpetration.[26] There is also the other side of the coin. Women are known to pass off their own violence as that by their victim.[27] In mock scenarios, women show a clear prejudice, attributing perpetration to men much more than to women.[28] Mock juries readily assign blame responsibility to men, even when they’re presented with identical scenarios. When the victim is male, observers view the situation as less serious, with the victim as more responsible, and are more likely to ignore the situation.[29]

Evolutionary psychologist Steve Moxon notes that men—unlike women—usually do not have an emotional support network outside their own household: they stand to lose not only their partner, but also their children, their home, their savings and most of their income. For a man, this is absolute destruction whereas for a woman, all she stands to lose is her partner.[30] Men are thus very hesitant to report domestic conflicts because they are aware of the prejudice stacked against them. Even worse, men fear that if they are displaced from the household, their abusive partners may turn their children into objects of violence—a very real fear that is evident in women’s history of violence in the domestic environment.[31]

Politicization of DV causes more harm than good.

It is said that “there is more false, falsely framed, or disingenuously deceptive information about domestic violence than any other significant public and social issue.”[32] In the last 40 years, the entire approach to DV has been premised on the non-scientific feminist notion of ‘patriarchal dominance,’ according to which “domestic violence is all about power and control.” Consequently, there is a remarkable absence of empirical evidence to support the notion that DV is primarily perpetrated by men. These ideological constructs have not only misled the public and the officials but are actually escalating partner conflicts and discouraging genuine victims from receiving aid.[33][34][35]


The politicization of domestic violence, both as a social issue and as an important part of social science, is covered in depth in the follow-up article: [Link Set To Private]


References

  1. Hamel J, et al. (2012) The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project: Part 1. Partner Abuse, 3(2):131–139. 

  2. Hamel J, et al. (2012) The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project: Part 2. Partner Abuse, 3(3):283–285. 

  3. Hamel J, et al. (2012) The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project: Part 3. Partner Abuse, 3(4):403–405. 

  4. Hamel J, et al. (2013) The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project: Part 4. Partner Abuse, 4(1):3–5. 

  5. Hamel J, et al. (2013) The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project: Part 5. Partner Abuse, 4(2):171–174. 

  6. Desmarais SL, et al. (2012) Prevalence of Physical Violence in Intimate Relationships, Part 1: Rates of Male and Female Victimization. Partner Abuse, 3(2):140-169. 

  7. Desmarais SL, et al. (2012) [Tables & summary] Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships, Part 1: Rates of male and female victimization. Partner Abuse, 3(2):1-6. 

  8. Desmarais SL, et al. (2012) Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships, part 2: Rates of male and female perpetration. Partner Abuse, 3(2):170–198. 

  9. Desmarais SL, et al. (2012) [Tables & summary] Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships, part 2: Rates of male and female perpetration. Partner Abuse, 3(2):1–10. 

  10. Carney MM & Barner JR. (2012) Prevalence of partner abuse: Rates of emotional abuse and control. Partner Abuse, 3(3):286–335. 

  11. Carney MM & Barner JR. (2012) [Tables & summary] Prevalence of partner abuse: Rates of emotional abuse and control. Partner Abuse, 3(3):1–48. 

  12. Langhinrichsen-Rohling J, et al. (2012) Rates of bidirectional versus unidirectional intimate partner violence across samples, sexual orientations, and race/ethnicities: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3(2):199–230. 

  13. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J et al. (2012) [Tables & summary] Rates of bidirectional versus unidirectional intimate partner violence across samples, sexual orientations, and race/ethnicities: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3(2):1–2. 

  14. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J et al. (2012) Motivations for men and women’s intimate partner violence perpetration: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3(4):429–468. 

  15. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J et al. (2012) [Tables & summary] Motivations for men and women’s intimate partner violence perpetration: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3(4):1–33. 

  16. Esquivel-Santoveña EE, et al. (2013) Partner abuse worldwide. Partner Abuse, 4(1):6–75. 

  17. Esquivel-Santoveña EE, et al. (2013) [Tables and summary] Partner abuse worldwide. Partner Abuse, 4(1):1–8. 

  18. Capaldi D, et al. (2012) A systematic review of risk factors for intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 3(2):231–280. 

  19. Capaldi D, et al. (2012) [Tables & summary] A systematic review of risk factors for intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 3(2):1–27. 

  20. Shernock S & Russell B. (2012) Gender and racial/ethnic differences in criminal justice decision making in intimate partner violence cases. Partner Abuse, 3(4):501–530. 

  21. Shernock S & Russell B. (2012) [Tables & summary] Gender and racial/ethnic differences in criminal justice decision making in intimate partner violence cases. Partner Abuse, 3(4):1–10. 

  22. Davis RL. (2010) Domestic violence-related deaths. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2(2):44–52. 

  23. Steinmetz SK. (1977-78) The Battered Husband Syndrome. Victimology, 2:499–509. 

  24. Fiebert MS. (2014) References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: An updated annotated bibliography. Sexuality & Culture, 18(2):405–467. 

  25. Straus MA & Gelles RJ. (1992) How violent are American families? In Straus MA & Gelles R (Eds.) Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families (pp. 95–108). Transaction Publishers. 

  26. Stets JE & Straus MA. (1990) Gender differences in reporting of marital violence and its medical and psychological consequences. In Straus MA & Gelles R (Eds.) Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families (pp. 151–166). Transaction Publishers. 

  27. Lewis A & Sarantakos S. (2001) Domestic Violence and the Male Victim. Nuance, 3. 

  28. Rhatigan DL, Stewart C & Moore TM. (2011) Effects of gender and confrontation on attributions of female-perpetrated intimate partner violence. Sex Roles, 64(11–12):875–887. 

  29. Sylaska KM & Walters AS. (2014) Testing the extent of the gender trap: college students’ perceptions of and reactions to intimate partner violence. Sex Roles, 70(3–4):134–145. 

  30. Moxon SP. (2008) Home Lies — Violence by partners is not mostly by men. In The Woman Racket: The New Science Explaining How the Sexes Relate at Work, at Play and in Society. United Kingdom: Imprint Academic. 

  31. Science Vs. Feminism. (2014) Violence by Women: A Historical Overview

  32. Cook P. (2009) The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence (p. 128) Praeger. 

  33. Gelles RJ. (2007)The politics of research: The use, abuse, and misuse of social science data—The cases of intimate partner violence. Family Court Review, 45, 1. 

  34. Iyengar R. (2007) Does the certainty of arrest reduce domestic violence? Evidence from mandatory and recommended arrest laws. National Bureau of Economic Research. 

  35. Mills LG. (2003) Insult to Injury: Rethinking Our Responses to Intimate Abuse (p. 6). Princeton University Press. 


11 thoughts on “Domestic Violence: Statistics Worldwide

  1. Non C,

    Nice post. Recommend you also read: Dutton, D.G. and Corvo, K. “Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 11 (2006) 457–483.

    Drop me an email if you want a .pdf copy.

    I also have other resources that will interest you. There is actually a rational explanation for the otherwise seemingly irrational behaviour of ideological feminists. (Hint: look deeper into your line, “These ideological constructs have not only misled the public and the officials but are actually escalating partner conflicts and discouraging genuine victims from receiving aid.” This is clinically indicative of a certain form of little known psychopathology and also dovetails perfectly with a well respected work within social theory / criticism.)

    Cheers.

    1. Thanks. I’m quite familiar with Donald Dutton’s work. The present article is sort of a preamble to a much more detailed follow-up I had posted in my old blog which dealt with the Duluth model and the concerted data fraud with which it was pushed into the legal system. Unfortunately, I can’t find the backup files to repost it so I will have to rewrite the article at some point.

      In the follow-up, I had also looked at female psychopathy and how it overlaps with personality disorders commonly found in women, and DV from a biological point-of-view in the context of “mate guarding” behaviour. Evolutionary psychologist Steve Moxon has published some fantastic articles on this topic. Here’s a direct link to one of his articles: http://www.newmalestudies.com/OJS/index.php/nms/article/view/149

      1. Interesting, thank you for the link to Moxon’s work. What stood out for me was this quote: “Consequently, it became imperative both to deny the extent and even the existence of PV that is female-on-male, whilst inflating levels of male-on-female PV and falsely ascribing to it a special perniciousness.”

        As an alternative to evolutionary biology for an explanation (not that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive), I recommend you explore the concept of gender narcissism as per Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D.’s book “Psychoanalytic Centrism,” in particular the chapter “Gender narcissism and its manifestations.” Feminist ideology, academic fraud, and PV-perpetuating policies can be rationally interpreted as narcissistic mirroring operating at the social level.

        This, in turn, implies that ideological feminism as a social phenomenon is a subset of what Christopher Lasch wrote about in his book “The Culture of Narcissism.”

        An intuitive understanding of feminist gender narcissism (vs. Schoenewolf’s neo-Freudian) comes from “The Mirror, Book 1: Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood.” “The Mirror” journey-of-discovery narrative posits that the little known covert form of narcissism is a feminine form, and uses covert narcissism as the segue to understanding feminist gender narcissism. This sees feminists as being unconsciously ashamed of their feminine biology. Any natural social ordering that might arise due to biological differences between the genders exposes feminists to their own unconscious (and irrational) shame and thus constitutes a narcissistic injury (or threat thereof), with the typical resultant narcissistic rage (hence the angry nature of ideological feminists).

        To defend against reality, feminists have a pathological need for women-being-inherent-victims-of-men-and-society to be ‘true.’ It isn’t enough for them to believe it themselves; if others don’t believe it, then it might not be ‘true.’ As you observed with PV, for example, feminist ‘solutions’ actually perpetuate the problem and prohibit effective interventions (per Dutton re: psycho-educational interventions).

        When critically viewed from the gender narcissism perspective, all feminist activism reveals itself as gender narcissistic mirroring operating at the social level. The narcissism defence mechanism of the projection of shame is also evident throughout feminist activism.

        I have a spare copy of “The Mirror” if you’re interested in a complimentary read. Reformed former feminist and U of Ottawa English Prof Janice Fiamengo really liked it when I showed it to her.

        1. I suppose “gender narcissism” is one way to put it. If you look at the type of women who associate with feminism, they are largely made of those who are of strikingly low mate-value. Such women will herd like cattle in order to gain some advantage in the sexual market. What they actually end up with is the exact opposite: they expose their low mate-value, and most men will actively avoid them as a result. The “male feminist” is drawn from the dregs as well, but he is driven by the sole intention of preying upon foolish low mate-value women.

          I’ve seen the Fiamengo File, which turned out to be much better than what I was expecting. However, I have a very low opinion of moderate / reformed feminists because they are the ones who ultimately hand over the platform to radicals and keep the myths of feminism alive.

          (Btw, I just picked up a copy of The Mirror via Amazon.)

          1. Janice F., rather than surrendering the space to ideological / radical feminists, has intellectually fought the movement since her gradual realization that feminism was intellectually fraudulent. For example, I once witnessed her suffer repeated student disruptions at a planned talk on campus, oppression done with the tacit knowledge if not approval by the U of Ottawa administration. Despite such dirty and ignoble opposition, she continues.

            I find the gender narcissism thesis to be more compelling that the evolutionary biology one, but, again, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If you are an insecure woman with a low self-perceived mate value–and this must be understood from The Culture of Narcissism perspective, where a pop culture ‘desirable’ female mate might be a Kim Kardashian-type–, this might contribute to an unconscious sense of shame for being an ‘inferior’ woman. The narcissistic pop culture onslaught is relentless.

            In terms of male feminists (Canada’s Prime Minister comes to mind), I would agree that these sycophant males seek to curry favour with dominant and controlling females, but I am more inclined to attribute such behaviour to them having been psychoemotionally emasculated via domineering / controlling / manipulative mothers. Via the transference mechanism, these inferior men are unconsciously seeking favour with or placating the maternal surrogate. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transference)

            I suppose we should wait and see if The Mirror + Schoenewolf’s “Gender narcissism and its manifestations” + (possibly) Lasch’s “The Culture of Narcissism” present a sufficiently compelling explanation for the feminist phenomenon, in your opinion. Regardless, I appreciate the civil and though-provoking discourse. Thank you.

            Cheers,

            S.

            1. I was only offering one possible explanation, that’s all. However, all of this assumes that feminism—and indeed progressivism as a whole—is organic, which it clearly isn’t.

              Groups, especially those part of political movements, behave in very specific ways depending on the values they root for. This is not the case with progressivism. There are no actual values attached to progressivism whatsoever. It’s an imitation—it’s a knock-off.

              The keyword, should you care to investigate, is: “subversion.” (Try YouTube.)

  2. You seem intelligent so it’s unfortunate that your bias clouded you on this issue. Do you see a possible problem with relying on survey data to draw these conclusions? Example: If you survey all rapists I’m sure most of them will say that the woman wanted to be raped. Just like if you survey men who committed violence against their girlfriends or wives, they will say that the woman initiated the force. I’m not saying that it is impossible that these results are accurate, but I am saying that blindly believing the reports of abusive people is beyond ridiculous. The way we should measure rape statistics is from positive rape kits, and the way we should measure abuse statistics is from visible harm done, stated in a police report. The conclusions drawn here only make your other work look less credible, and I really enjoyed the IQ/G breakdown. Reconsider good sir.

  3. Good work.

    I am very pleased to see men around the web finally begin to push back on the feminist imperative.

    Look forward to the follow-on articles.

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