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Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99

October 28, 2001 202/307-0784


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Violence rates among intimate partners, current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, differ greatly according to the victim's age, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today in a new special report. While the overall per capita rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against females age 12 or older was 5.8 victimizations per U.S. 1,000 females in 1999, among females age 16 to 24 it was 15.6 victimizations per 1,000.

Women age 16 to 24 were the most vulnerable to non-fatal intimate violence, whereas women age 35 to 49 were the most vulnerable to murder by an intimate partner.

Trends over the period from 1993 to 1999 show that the rates of intimate partner violence fell for females age 20 to 24, 25 to 34 and 35 to 49. Despite some year-to-year fluctuations, rates of violence by intimates against women in other age categories were unchanged from 1993 through 1999.

Black and white women experienced intimate partner violence at similar rates for every age group except age 20 to 24. Among that group, there were 29 violent victimizations per 1,000 black women compared to 20 per 1,000 white women.

Women separated from their husbands were victimized by an intimate at rates higher than married, divorced, widowed or never married women.

The percentages of all homicides against males or females committed by an intimate from 1993 through 1999 by gender and age were as follows:

Age of victim Female victims Male victims
12-15 10 % 1 %
16-19 22   1  
20-24 32   2  
25-34 36   4  
35-49 38   6  
50-64 30   8  
65 & older 21   5  

The BJS report also provided a statistical portrait of overall intimate partner violence against all women. In 1999 there were about 671,110 intimate partner victimizations of women age 12 or older, including 91,470 rapes and sexual assaults, 65,970 robberies, 68,810 aggravated assaults and almost 444,860 simple assaults.

A majority of intimate partner violence that occurred between 1993 and 1999 was perpetrated by boyfriends and girlfriends (53 percent), with an additional 33 percent perpetrated by a current spouse.

There was little variation by a victim's age in the degree to which non-lethal intimate partner violence involved weapons or a victim's injury. In general, about one in seven intimate partner victimizations of a woman involved a weapon, and about half of the victimizations resulted in a physical injury to the victim.

Younger victims of intimate partner violence were least likely to report the violence to the police.

The special report, "Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99" (NCJ-187635), was written by BJS statistician Callie Marie Rennison. Single copies may be obtained by calling the BJS clearinghouse number: 1-800-851-3420. Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358. After the release date the data will be available at: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1003

The BJS Internet site is: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/

Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354

Date Published: October 28, 2001