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January 3, 2007
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

Drop in Family Violence Unrelated to VAWA, Govt. Report Shows

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 / U.S. Newswire / – A recent Department of Justice report on Intimate Partner Violence shows that such crime has been falling in the United States for many years, but the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) does not appear to have contributed to the drop.

According to the DoJ report, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, partner crime began to fall long before VAWA programs were started in 1995.

In 1976, 1,348 men were killed by their wives and girlfriends. By 1994, that number had fallen to 684. Likewise, the number of women killed by intimate partners dropped 12% over the same time period.

Even for non-fatal intimate partner victimization, the Department of Justice report shows that rates began to fall before the Violence Against Women Act was enacted. From 1993 to 2004, intimate partner abuse of women fell 61%. But abuse rates of women fell across the board: 59% when the abuse was perpetrated by a stranger, and 66% when by a friend or acquaintance.

"There's still no generally accepted consensus about why any crime in general has dropped," explains Shannan Catalano, the DoJ statistician who authored the report. Possible reasons for the decline include increased policing, neighborhood-watch programs, and an overall aging of the general population.

The Justice Department report is based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is believed to underreport partner abuse, especially victimization of men. The Department of Justice report can be seen at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/intimate/ipv.htm .

One reason for VAWA's lack of impact, researchers say, is its limited focus. "For years, researchers have been saying that half of all domestic violence is instigated by women, but most VAWA-funded programs don't accept that," notes family violence researcher Donald Dutton, PhD, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

"Now we see the result of not providing anger management and counseling services to female batterers."

A 2005 report by the Independent Women's Forum, "Domestic Violence: An In-depth Analysis," concluded that many VAWA-funded law enforcement strategies have been found to be ineffective.

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org.

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