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Violence by Intimates


MONDAY, MARCH 16, 1998               202/307-0784

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Intimates committed fewer
murders in 1996 than in any other year since 1976,
the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice
Statistics (BJS) reported today. In 1996, just
over 1,800 murders were attributable to intimates--
down 36 percent from nearly 3,000 in 1976.  

     In 1996, three in every four victims of
intimate murder were female.  On average, the
number of murders by intimates decreased by 5
percent per year for male victims and 1 percent
per year for female victims over the past two

     For this report, based on new and previously
reported data,  intimate violence includes murder,
rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault
and simple assault committed by a current or
former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.

     Overall during the 1976-1996 period, intimate
murder fell by 36 percent and spouse murder, its
largest component, by 52 percent.  The sharpest
decrease in rates of intimate murder have been
among black male victims.   Since 1976, intimate
murders with guns have declined, although in 1996,
65 percent of all intimate murders were committed
with firearms.

     The most recent declines in intimate murder
have been mirrored by declines since 1993 in 
non-lethal intimate violence.   During 1996 there 
were an estimated 840,000 female victims of violent
crimes inflicted by an intimate, compared with 1.1
million in 1993.  By contrast, intimate violence
against males, about 150,000 in 1996, showed no
significant fluctuations during the 4-year period.

     In 1996, violence by an intimate accounted
for about 21 percent of all violence experienced
by female victims, compared to 2 percent for male
victims.  Women 16 to 24 years old experienced the
highest per capita rates of intimate violence.

     About half of the incidents of intimate
violence experienced by women were reported to
police.  Black women were more likely to make
these reports than were women of other races.  The
most common reasons given for not reporting such
crimes to the authorities were that they were
personal or private matters, the victim feared
retaliation or that the police would not be able
to do anything about it.

     About one in 10 women victimized by a violent
intimate sought medical treatment at a medical
care facility.  Women were about 84 percent of
those seeking hospital emergency department
treatment for intentional injury caused by an
intimate assailant.

     Those who committed a violent crime against
an intimate represent about 25 percent of
convicted violent offenders in local jails and
about 7 percent of violent offenders in state

     More than half of both prison and jail
inmates serving times for violence against an
intimate had been using drugs, alcohol or both 
at the time of the incident for which they were
incarcerated.  Nearly four in 10 offenders
sentenced to local jail for intimate violence 
had a criminal justice status such as being on 
probation or under a restraining order at the time
they committed the crime. 

     The factbook, "Violence by Intimates" 
(NCJ-167237), presents  up-to-date analyses of 
intimate violence drawn from a number of BJS and 
Department of Justice statistical programs, 
including the National Crime Victimization Survey, 
a hospital emergency department study, BJS surveys 
of jail and prison inmates and the FBI's Uniform 
Crime Reporting Program.  It was written by BJS
statisticians as a contribution to further inform
a joint effort of the Department of Justice and
the National Center for Injury Prevention and
Control in the Department of Health and Human
Services to study potential enhancements to the
collection of domestic violence data.  Single
copies may be obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand
system by dialing 301/519-5550, listening to the
menu, and selecting document numbers 98, 99, and
100 or by calling the BJS Clearinghouse at
1-800/732-3277.  BJS's home page address on the
Internet is:


     Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice Programs
homepage at:


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BJS98054 (I)    
After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
Date Published: March 16, 1998