San Diego Local Community News

Domestic Violence Data in California
Domestic violence has proven to be a problem in every state in the U.S. Even though men are also victims; research has it that the more significant percentage (80%) of victims of domestic abuse is female. Other proof shows that the percentage of domestic abuse victims in California is more than the average nationwide percentage.
This evidence doesn’t necessarily imply that California women are at a higher risk of being victims of domestic violence than women living in other states. However, it indicates how important it is for the state of California to commit significantly to help these victims, as well as teach the abusers about anger management skills. Additionally, if you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence you should not hesitate to contact a Domestic Violence Attorney. A competent attorney may help to enable the defendant from further incriminating themselves or protect them if they have been wrongfully accused while avoiding causing further damage.
The Levels of Domestic Violence Data
There are various types of domestic violence cases that are handled by the agencies supplying data. The frequency of occurrence, severity, and the kind of data recorded differs for these cases. The cases include:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Homicide
  • Physical, psychological, and emotional injuries which are self-reported and don’t need immediate medical care
  • Emergency department visits

Murders are the most severe cases, followed by hospitalizations due to injuries related to domestic violence. Emergency visits closely follow hospital admissions, while self-reported victimizations are less severe. Even though deaths resulting from domestic violence do happen, self-reported victimizations with less physical, emotional, or psychological injuries are the most common. Domestic violence cases without severe damages incurred are most likely to be reported to medical personnel or law enforcement. Thus, accurate figures are not known.
Gauging Domestic Violence
In California, measuring the degree of this issue is quite hard. This is because statistics of arrests only show a section of the whole story. Also, not every domestic violence act leads to a conviction, and not each sentencing is dependent on true accusations.
Surveys can provide a better revelation of the problem, but their results are often contradictory. There are surveys driven by an agenda while others take a scientific approach. Domestic violence is defined differently, and there are different survey methodologies. These two are the main contributing factors as to why we experience different survey results. Additionally, survey respondents may fear or feel ashamed to report violence or to admit they are the victims even after being assured of anonymity. Others may say that they are victims while an assessment would indicate they aren’t.
Let’s look at surveys carried out by different bodies over the years.
CDC Survey
CDC (The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) employs the most competent scientists in the U.S government. The NIPSVS (National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey) body of the CDC may be among the survey bodies that provide the most reliable data regarding domestic violence.
Based on the recent findings by NIPSVS, 32.9% of women from California have been victims of violence, stalking, or sexual violence by their intimate partners in their lifetime. This translates to over 4.5 million California women who have been domestic violence victims in their lifetime.
These results are higher than the nationwide average. According to the national report, one in every four women reports being a victim of domestic violence.
A Survey by The California Women’s Health
The survey was carried out in 2008 by two private organizations and different state agencies which address mental and physical health. The survey findings were that; 40% of women living in California have been victims of domestic violence in their life. The results also indicated that:

  • 11% of younger women aged between 18 and 29 years old registered the highest domestic violence rates than women of different age groups.
  • Non-white females reported higher rates of domestic violence than white females.
  • Women with low income reported higher domestic violence rates than higher-earning women.
  • Female university or four-year college graduates reported lower domestic violence rates than women that had a higher level of education.
  • Females that self-reported more than two weeks of deteriorating mental health or overwhelming feelings registered higher domestic violence rates than females who didn’t self-report the feelings.
  • There were more significant rates of domestic violence cases among women that had been expectant in the past five years (12%).
  • Of the victims that faced domestic violence, 75% had children below 18 years old at home.
  • Approximately 641, 000 (6%) of California women encountered at least one physical or psychological incident of domestic violence in the last one year.

CSS Survey
The survey carried out by The CSS (California Student Survey) focused on the frequency of violence related to teen dating. The study revealed that, at a minimum, one case of physical dating abuse was registered by 5.2% of students in the 9th grade and 8.2% of students in the 11th grade. Among the students that had a boyfriend or girlfriend, dating violence rates were at 8.8% for those in the 9th grade while 12.8% of the students were in the 11th grade.
A Survey by the California Department of Justice
The department of justice surveyed the number of homicides resulting from domestic violence. The report indicated that 113 deaths related to domestic violence occurred in 2008 (most recent data available). The deaths accounted for 5% of all deaths in California state. Of these deaths, 99 of the casualties were women (88%) while 14 were men (12%).
Survey on calls related to domestic violence made to police departments
According to a report by the California Department of Justice, there were 174,649 calls related to domestic violence requesting for help in 2007 (most recent data available). 40% of these calls were to do with the use of weapons.
Survey on victims that seek services and the unmet needs
This may be the most critical data. It demonstrates a gap that exists between the needs of domestic abuse victims and the services they get. The study showed that, on average, 150, 000 domestic violence victims seek help every year from domestic violence hotlines that are funded by the California state. In a day, domestic abuse programs received over 922 emergency calls. This is 38 calls in one hour on average. Sadly, 492 of the calls for help were not met due to inadequate resources. This very report also revealed that programs of domestic violence served 3,674 California residents on that day. This was a 17% increase over three years.
Victims that access services from domestic abuse programs funded by the state registered significant threats to their safety. Of these victims, 65% were threatened by weapons.
Another survey carried out state-wide on 12th September 2012, indicated that:

  • Over 5,000 victims got services related to domestic abuse that day.
  • Close to 3,000 of the victims mentioned above were living in transitional housing or emergency shelters.
  • Close to 800 victims that sought transitional housing or emergency shelters were turned down due to inadequate resources to meet their needs.
  • Several other victims could not receive other required services like child care, legal representation, or transportation due to inadequate resources to serve their requests.

Any individual that needs help, be it a domestic violence victim or an aggressor who wants to enroll in a recovery program, should not be turned down. California government ought to address the domestic violence problem by committing itself totally to helping the victims.
A survey on emergency shelters
In California, there are approximately 107 programs to address domestic violence problems. These programs provide 3, 592 shelter beds in total. This translates to 34 shelter beds in one program on average. Between 2001 and 2007, more than 91,000 domestic violence victims were given refuge in these shelters. Of the 15,179 people that are given refuge every year, approximately half are grown-ups (47%) while the remaining half are minors (53%). A victim can stay in these emergency shelters for 34 nights on average.
In a day, domestic abuse programs shelter 2,121 victims. This is a 32% increase over three years. However, about 333 shelter requests are unmet because of inadequate resources. Emergency shelter demand is very high in that 72% of the shelters are always at or exceed their capacities. To be more precise, 44, 000 grown-up victims could not be accommodated in these shelters in the last six years because they were full, which translates to 7,348 adult victims being turned away every year.
Domestic violence programs funded by the state serve close to 67% ( two-thirds) of the victims requesting shelter and turn away the remaining approximately 33% (one-third) as a result of capacity limitations. However, the programs try to help those victims that are turned away to consider other shelters, safety planning, and motel vouchering. They spend, on average, 41 minutes trying to find the best alternative services for a victim.
A survey on counseling and additional services
Over six years, domestic violence-related programs funded by the state provided personal advice to approximately 197,717 victims. This translates to an average of 34,000 victims being counseled every year. Over the same period, 108,414 victims took part in group counseling. This averages to about 18,000 victims taking part every year.
Additionally, the programs provided emergency food and clothing to more than 6,695 victims in six years. This translates to 83% of the requests that are being handled. Most of these programs serve minors who have witnessed or have been domestic violence victims. They counseled more than 50,000 children in six years averaging to 8,350 children being counseled each year, which translates to 77%.
A report by The California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
The CDPH noted domestic violence as a significant public health issue in California that affects all socio-economic and age groups. The role of the report was to strengthen the understanding of the role of the governmental public health in preventing violence, address how different forms of violence are related, shape imminent funding initiatives and to steer collaborative efforts with partners all over the state. The types of violence that were prioritized in the report included child maltreatment, gun violence, and domestic violence
Underreporting Cases of Domestic Violence
As earlier indicated, domestic abuse cases are often underreported for various reasons. The reasons may include shame, the stigma of being perceived a domestic violence victim, the fear of publicizing what is believed to be a private matter, the fear of retaliation from the attacker, and the belief that no one would help after reporting. Additionally, since few domestic violence acts lead to physical injuries that would need medical attention, the majority of the victims will not involve law enforcement or healthcare personnel. It’s also common that most victims will not realize that what happened to them was an offense, severe enough to report.
Another problem that could contribute to underreporting is that when a victim reports a case, healthcare agencies and the law enforcement experience obstacles when collecting the data. The constraints could be inadequate training and staffing. This may result in missing or incomplete reports and inconsistency in reporting practices from one year to another. Additionally, insufficient official in-built data systems in clinics and hospitals may limit the data collection process.
Domestic violence victims should be encouraged to report these incidents, so they get the help they need. If you have any fear that is holding you back from reporting domestic abuse that has happened to you, such as retaliation from your attacker, seek the help of the local law enforcement. Additionally, if you have been falsely charged a Domestic Violence Attorney can help to defend your rights.
Unreported Domestic Violence Data
Surveys often provide useful data about domestic violence trends. They can capture a wide range of incidents of sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological violence. However, some events still go unreported, and these surveys cannot capture the exact results. This means that the rate of domestic violence is higher than what the numbers indicate. To curb this problem, the California government should increase funding for support services and also make domestic violence penalties firm and consistent. Maybe then, the perpetrators will be terrified.
If you need help in court on a domestic violence case, contact a Domestic Violence Attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys work primarily defendants of domestic violence cases and make sure you get you just representation and a fair trial.

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