New Survey Underscores Need for More Services, Funding for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence
December 15, 2011 – The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence today welcomed new data that supports the need for funding and services for victims of violence against women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its first National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), which describes the great prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.
According to the survey of more than 16,500 adults, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. In the 12 months prior to the survey, more than 7 million women were the victims of physical violence by an intimate partner. One in four women and one in seven men reported severe physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner. This includes a range of physical violence from a slap to a longer term pattern of abuse.
The data also states that women are four times more likely than men to be beaten; six times more likely to be slammed against something; and nine times more likely to be strangled or suffocated. Seventy-two percent of women and 18 percent of men reported being frightened by the violence.
"These statistics are shocking but not surprising. Here in New Hampshire survivors often report experiencing the same severe forms of violence outlined in the report," said Amy Sousa, Interim Director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. "It is critical that these victims receive support and services to help them heal. Although financial difficulties have placed a strain on our crisis centers, each program continues to ensure that there is a voice on the other end of the hotline no matter what time of day someone needs us."
More than one million women reported being raped in the 12 months prior to the survey. Nearly 92 percent of the female victims of rape where assaulted by an intimate partner or acquaintance. Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men reported having been raped at some point in their lifetime.
The report emphasizes the importance of prevention efforts. Approximately 80 percent of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and nearly half experienced the first rape before age 18. Almost a third (28 percent) of men experienced their first rape when they were ten years of age or younger.
The report's release supports the federal government's efforts to address intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking including the recently-introduced Senate bill to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is the cornerstone of the federal government's response to these crimes, authorizing critical funding and support to survivors and to the criminal justice system. Victim advocates across the country are urging Congress to swiftly reauthorize the legislation.
"We are proud to have Senator Shaheen as a co-sponsor of this legislation," said Sousa. "We are hopeful that other members of the delegation will join her in signing on to VAWA once it reaches the House."