Domestic Violence by Race & Ethnicity

Victim populations broken down by race and ethnicity. 


Native Americans | African Americans | Hispanics | Asian Pacific | Cambodians | Chinese Filipinas | Japanese | Koreans | 
South Asians


Native Americans 

According the Southwest Center for Law and Policy:

  • Native Americans are victims of rape or sexual assault at more than double the rate of other racial groups.
  • For Native American victims of violence, the offender was slightly more likely to be a stranger than an intimate partner, family member or acquaintance.
  • Native Americans described the offender as an acquaintance in 34% of rapes/sexual assaults, and as an intimate partner or family member in 25% of sexual assaults.

    Southwest Ctr. for L. and Pol'y, Statistics (2005), http://www.swclap.org/statistics.htm; Steven W. Perry, U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 203097, A Bureau of Justice Statistics Statistical Profile, 1992-2002: American Indians and Crime (2004), available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/aic02.htm


African Americans 

African Americans, especially African American Women, suffer deadly violence from family members at rates decidedly higher than for other racial groups in the United States. However, it is observed that research concerning family violence among African Americans is inadequate.

  • Overall, African Americans were victimized by intimate partners a significantly higher rates than persons of any other race between 1993 and 1998. Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Black males experienced intimate partner violence at a rate about 62% higher than that of white males and about 2.5 times the rate of men of other races. 

    Callie Marie Rennison. and Sarah Welchans, U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 178247, Intimate Partner Violence (2000), available at http://www.popcenter.org/problems/domestic_violence/PDFs/Rennison%26Welchans_2000.pdf

  • African-American women experience significantly more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. Generally, Black women experience similar levels of intimate partner victimization in all other age categories as compared to White women, but experience slightly more domestic violence. (Estimates are provided from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.) 

    Callie Marie Rennison, U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 187635,Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-1999, at 4, (2001), available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/ipva99.htm

Hispanics 

  • The rate of intimate partner violence for Hispanic women, like women of other races, peaked at ages 20-24.
  • Overall, the victimization rates of Hispanic women peaked at lower levels than non-Hispanic women in every age group, but spread over a wider range of ages. 

    (Estimates are provided from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.) Callie Marie Rennison, U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 187635,Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-1999, at 4, (2001), available a thttp://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/ipva99.htm

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence:

  • 77% of all Hispanic Texans indicate that either they, a family member and/or a friend have experienced some form of domestic violence, indicating that approximately 5.2 million Hispanic Texans are personally affected by the epidemic of domestic violence. If the current prevalence rates remain the same, by the year 2030, more than 12.2 million Hispanic Texans could be personally affected by domestic violence.
  • 64% of all Hispanic Texans indicate that they or a member of their family have experienced at least one form of domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • 36% of all Hispanic Texans report being severely abused in their lifetime.
  • 2 out of every 5 Hispanic Texas females (39%) reported experience severe abuse.
  • 1 out of every 5 Hispanic Texas females (18%) reported being forced to have sex against their will.
  • 40% of Hispanic Texans who reported experiencing at least one form of domestic violence took no action.
  • 63% of all Hispanic Texans recall recent communications concerning domestic violence.
  • 50% of all Hispanic Texans believe domestic violence is caused by circumstances beyond the batterers control showing that the Hispanic Texas community needs more information on domestic violence.
  • 82% of all Hispanic Texans believe that it is never appropriate to stay in an abusive relationship, yet 46% acknowledge that leaving an abusive relationship can be more dangerous than staying.
  • 83% of all Hispanic Texans agree that a husband who abuses his wife is more likely to also abuse his children; yet only 47% indicate a belief that domestic violence passes from generation to generation.
  • 86% of all Hispanic Texans report that they would vote for a candidate who helps domestic violence victims. They are the ethnic group most likely to indicate such. 

    Texas Council on Family Violence, Statistics, 2002 http://makethecall.org/texas_stats.htm


Asian & Pacific Islanders

  • 12.8% of Asian and Pacific Islander women reported experiencing physical assault by an intimate partner at least once during their lifetime; 3.8% reported having been raped. The rate of physical assault was lower than those reported by Whites (21.3%); African-Americans (26.3%); Hispanic, of any race, (21.2%); mixed race (27.0%); and American Indians and Alaskan Natives (30.7%). The low rate for Asian and Pacific Islander women may be attributed to underreporting. 

    Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 181867, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence,at 26 (2000), available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/181867.htm ; see also Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, Fact Sheet: Domestic Violence in Asian Communities, 2005, http://www.apiahf.org/apidvinstitute/PDF/Fact_Sheet.pdf

The National Asian Women's Health Organization (NAWHO) interviewed 336 Asian American women aged 18-34 who reside in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, via telephone: 

  • 16% of the respondents reported having experienced "pressure to have sex without their consent by an intimate partner."
  • 12 % of respondents reported that an intimate partner had hurt or had attempted to hurt them by means of hitting, kicking, slapping, shoving, object throwing, or threatening their lives with a weapon.
  • 27% experienced emotional abuse by an intimate partner 

    National Asian Women's Health Organization, Silent Epidemic: A Survey of Violence Among Young Asian American Women, (2002), available at http://www.nawho.org/pubs/NAWHOSilentEpidemic.pdf

Project AWARE (Asian Women Advocating Respect and Empowerment) in Washington, DC, conducted an anonymous survey in 2000-2001 to examine the experiences of abuse, service needs, and barriers to service among Asian women. Using a sample of 178 Asian women: 

  • 81.1% of the women reported experiencing at least one form of intimate partner violence (domination/controlling/psychological, physical, and/or sexual abuse as categorized by the researchers) in the past year.
  • 67% "occasionally" experienced some form of domination or controlling psychological abuse; 48% experienced it "frequently" in the past year.
  • 32% experienced physical or sexual abuse at least "occasionally" during the past year.
  • Of the 23 women who reported not having experienced intimate partner violence themselves, more than half (64%) said they knew of an Asian friend who had experienced intimate partner violence. Smaller proportions of respondents reported that their mothers (9%) and sisters (11%) had experienced intimate partner violence.
  • 28.5% of the survey participants knew of a woman who was being abused by her in-laws. 

    Karen A. McDonnell & Shamira E. Abdulla, Project AWARE, Asian/Pacific Islander Resource Project (2001).


Cambodians 

In a study conducted by the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence in Boston, using a self-administered questionnaire at ethnic fairs: 

  • 44-47% of Cambodians interviewed said they knew a woman who experienced domestic violence, by either physical abuse or injury.
  • 37% of the respondents know a man who is being beaten by his partner. 

    Marianne R. Yoshioka et al., Asian Family Violence Report: A Study of the Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese Communities in Massachusetts (2004), http://www.atask.org/Resources_AFVR.htm


Chinese 

In a random telephone survey of 262 Chinese men and women in Los Angeles: 

  • 18.1% of respondents reported experiencing "minor physical violence" by a spouse or intimate partner within their lifetime, and 8% of respondents reported "severe physical violence" experienced during their lifetime. ["Minor-severe" categories were based on the researcher's classification criteria.]
  • More acculturated respondents (as assessed by the researchers) were twice as likely to have been victims of severe physical violence. [Although the author states "It is possible that traditional cultural values serve as a protective buffer against stressors engendered by immigration", higher rates among more acculturated respondents may be due to their increased likelihood to report abuse.] 

    Alice G. Yick, Predictors of Physical Spousal/Intimate Violence in Chinese American Families, 15 J. Fam. Violence 249 (2000).


Filipinas 

In a survey conducted by the Immigrant Women's Task Force of the Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services: 

  • 20% of 54 undocumented Filipina women living in the San Francisco Bay Area reported having experienced some form of domestic violence, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, either in their country of origin or in the United States. 

    Chris Hogeland and Karen Rosen, Coalition For Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services, Dreams Lost, Dreams Found: Undocumented Women In The Land of Opportunity, (1991).


Japanese 

In a face-to-face interview study of a random sample of 211 Japanese immigrant women and Japanese American women in Los Angeles County conducted in 1995: 

  • 61% reported some form of physical, emotional, or sexual partner violence that they considered abusive - including culturally demeaning practices such as overturning a dining table, or throwing liquid at a woman.
  • 52% reported having experienced physical violence during their lifetime. When the probability that some women who have not been victimized at the time of the interview, but may be abused at a later date is calculated, 57% of women are estimated to experience a partner's physical violence by age 49. 

    Mieko Yoshihama, Domestic Violence Against Women of Japanese Descent in Los Angeles: Two Methods of Estimating Prevalence, 5 Violence Against Women 869(1999); Mieko Yoshihama & Brenda W. Gillespie, Age Adjustment and Recall Bias in the Analysis of Domestic Violence Data: Methodological Improvements Through the Application of Survival Analysis Methods, 17 J. Fam. Violence 199 (2002).


Koreans 

In a study of 256 Korean men from randomly selectedKorean households in Chicago and in Queens (which then had the largest Korean population on the East Coast) in 1993: 

  • 18% of the respondents reported committing at least one of the following acts of physical violence within the past year: throwing something, pushing, grabbing, shoving, or slapping their wife.
  • 6.3% of the men committed what the researcher classified as "severe violence" (kicking, biting, hitting with a fist, threatening with a gun or knife, shooting, or stabbing). 

    Jae Yop Kim & Kuy-taik Sung, Conjugal Violence in Korean American Families: A Residue of the Cultural Tradition, 15 J. Fam. Violence 331 (2000).

In a survey of 214 Korean women and 121 Korean men in the San Francisco Bay Area conducted in 2000: 

  • 42% of the respondents said they knew of a Korean woman who experienced physical violence from a husband or boyfriend.
  • About 50% of the respondents knew someone who suffered regular emotional abuse. 

    Shimtuh, Korean American Domestic Violence Program,Korean American Community of the Bay Area Domestic Violence Needs Assessment Report (2000).


South Asians 

A study of 160 South Asian women (who were married or in a heterosexual relationship), recruited through community outreach methods such as flyers, snowball sampling, and referrals in Greater Boston, found that:

  • 40.8% of the participants reported that they had been physically and/or sexually abused in some way by their current male partners in their lifetime; 36.9% reported having been victimized in the past year.
  • 65% of the women reporting physical abuse also reported sexual abuse, and almost a third (30.4%) of those reporting sexual abuse reported injuries, some requiring medical attention. 

    Anita Raj & Jay G. Silverman, Intimate Partner Violence Against South-Asian Women in Greater Boston, 57 J. Am. Med. Women's Ass'n 111 (2002).

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