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Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2003 202/307-0784


WASHINGTON, D.C.- Twenty percent of all nonfatal violence against females 12 years of age and older during 2001 was committed by intimate partners, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported today. Intimates (current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends) committed 3 percent of all nonfatal violence against males during the same period, BJS said.

For intimate partner violence, as for violent crimes in general, the most common type of offense was simple assault, which includes threats, attempts and attacks without weapons that resulted in at most minor injuries. During 2001 the total estimated number of offenses nationwide against intimate partners were as follows:

  Female Victims Male Victims
Rape and sexual assault 41,740   *
Robbery 44,060   16,570
Aggravated assault 81,140   36,350
Simple assault 421,550   50,310
*Too few cases in sample to provide a reliable estimate

As with all other violent crimes, violence between intimates decreased substantially in recent years. From 1993 through 2001, intimate partner violence against females declined 49 percent, from 9.8 to 5.0 nonfatal victimizations per 1,000 female U.S. residents. Intimate violence against males fell 42 percent, from 1.6 such victimizations to .9 per 1,000 male residents during the same period.

During 2000, the latest year for which data are available, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner - a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend - with homicide by intimate partners declining between 1976 and 2000. The number of men killed by an intimate dropped 68 percent, and the number of women murdered by an intimate declined 22 percent during the 24-year period. The data about non-fatal offenses were derived from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which continually surveys large representative samples of U.S. residents to estimate the total annual number and rate of personal and household crimes. Murder statistics were derived from the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports.

The crime data brief, "Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001" (NCJ-197838), was written by BJS statistician Callie Marie Rennison. Single copies may be obtained by calling the BJS Clearinghouse at 1-800-851-3420. In addition, this document can be accessed at:


For further information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other OJP programs, please see the OJP website at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Media calls should be directed to David Hess in OJP's Office of Communications at [email protected] or 202-307-0703. After hours: 1-877-859-8704 (pager). 

Date Published: February 23, 2003