Domestic violence is a crime! People returning from prison who are in an abusive relationship increase the likelihood of recidivating if they do not get help to address this type of behavior.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, including the threat or use of violence.
Violence between intimates may include may forms of abuse:
- emotional abuse
- economic abuse
- sexual abuse
- using children for one’s personal benefit
- imposing “male privilege”
- isolation, and
- behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation and power
Men are the more common perpetrators of domestic violence and women are usually the victims; however, men can be and are victims of domestic violence.
Common myths about domestic violence:
- MYTH #1:DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AFFECTS ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION AND IS RARE.
- MYTH #2: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OCCURS ONLY IN POOR, UNEDUCATED AND MINORITY FAMILIES.
- MYTH #3: THE REAL PROBLEM IS COUPLES WHO ASSAULT EACH OTHER. WOMEN ARE JUST AS VIOLENT AS MEN.
- MYTH #4: ALCOHOL ABUSE CAUSES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
- MYTH #5: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS USUALLY A ONE TIME, ISOLATED OCCURRENCE.
- MYTH #6: MEN WHO BATTER ARE OFTEN GOOD FATHERS AND SHOULD HAVE JOINT CUSTODY OF THEIR CHILDREN IF THE COUPLE SEPARATES.
- MYTH #7: WHEN THERE IS VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY, ALL MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE DYNAMIC, AND THEREFORE, ALL MUST CHANGE FOR THE VIOLENCE TO STOP.
- MYTH #8: BATTERED WOMEN ARE MASOCHISTIC AND PROVOKE THE ABUSE. THEY MUST LIKE IT OR THEY WOULD LEAVE.
- MYTH #9: MEN HAVE A RIGHT TO DISCIPLINE THEIR PARTNERS FOR MISBEHAVING. BATTERING IS NOT A CRIME.
- MYTH #1O: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOT A PROBLEM IN MY COUNTRY.
- MYTH #11: SOME PEOPLE DESERVE TO BE HIT.
- MYTH #12: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A “LOSS OF CONTROL”.
- MYTH #13: ONCE A BATTERED WOMAN, ALWAYS A BATTERED WOMAN.
Some of the harsh realities:
In New York State, 58% of people in prison as of January 1, 2008 had been convicted of a violent felony crime. Most women in custody have traditionally been committed for drug crimes, while most men are committed for violent offenses. However, in 2006 the largest percentage of females convicted of crimes (38%), were convicted for violent offenses followed by drug offenses (33%). The majority (61%) of homicide victims in 2005 were males. Among the female homicide conviction in 2005, a third (33%) kill someone they were close to other than their children; among that number 67% had experienced prior abuse (defined as physical abuse sometime other than immediately before the incident) at the hand of the victim.
Research also shows that:
- One in every six homicide victims known to police in 2007 had a domestic relationship with their offenders (135 of 800 total victims).
- In 2007, 72 intimate partners were victims of homicide, accounting for more than half the State’s 135 domestic homicides.
- Females were victims in 81% of the 72 intimate partner homicides in the State.
- In NYC, most of the victims of intimate partner homicide were black. However, in the rest of the State, whites accounted for three-quarters of intimate partner victims.
- Hispanics were victims in one-quarter of intimate partner homicides in NYC.
Other facts about homicides in New York State show:
- Females were more likely to be victims of domestic homicide than all other homicides. Of 157 female homicide victims Statewide, more than half (55%) had a domestic relationship to their offender, according to police reports. In NYC, nearly 60% of homicides of females were domestic homicides, compared to 51% in the rest of the State.
- Female victims accounted for 64% of 135 domestic homicides Statewide in 2007. The proportion of female domestic homicides in NYC was 67%, slightly higher than in the rest of the State (62%).
- Across the state, a total of 81% of intimate partner homicide victims were female (58 of 72). Female intimate partner homicide occurred more frequently in NYC (34) than in the rest of the State (24). Moreover, female intimate homicide victims made up 47% of NYC’s domestic homicides compared to 38% in jurisdictions outside NYC.
The circumstances leading to these homicides show that:
- A domestic dispute or altercation was reported by police as the leading circumstance in 62% of domestic homicides Statewide (84 of 135). This compares to one-third of all other homicides where the circumstances involved a dispute or altercation.
- In 8 out of 10 intimate partner homicides, the most common circumstance was a domestic dispute or altercation. In NYC, this type of situation characterized more than 95% of these homicides.
- Among domestic homicides, firearms were the primary weapon type used against 45 victims, accounting for one-third of these deaths Statewide. This compares with 63% of all homicides where firearms caused or contributed to the deaths of 502 individuals in the State.
- In intimate partner homicides, guns were used against 33 victims across the state, contributing to 46% of these deaths. Guns were involved in the deaths of 20 NYC intimate partner victims and 13 victims in other jurisdictions, accounting for 48% and 43% of all such homicides in these respective regions.
- Non-gun weapons contributed to the deaths of 90 victims of domestic homicide Statewide. Non-gun weapons in domestic homicide included: knives, other cutting instruments, and blunt objects (27%); personal or miscellaneous weapons (20%); as well as homicides where the weapon was unknown or reported unknown by the police (20%). Regionally, non-gun weapons were used in 73% of domestic homicides outside NYC and 61% in the NYC region.