October has been named National Domestic Violence Awareness month, and for once the honorific title may actually be true.
Due to a string of high-profile domestic violence cases involving sports figures, awareness of the issue has never been higher. We are, as a society, finally starting to have a conversation about the issue, and a spate of new domestic violence bills have been put forward by legislatures across the country.
This is all very laudable, but it’s important that we keep talking about the issue and working on solutions after the media feeding frenzy subsides. For every professional athlete who makes headlines, there are hundreds of thousands of domestic violence cases that donât get any media attention, and hundreds of thousands more that go unreported. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) One out of four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, but 75% of all physical assaults go unreported.
Here are some more sobering facts, from the most recent NJ State Domestic Violence Report:
- There were 70,311 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2011.
- When viewed as a ratio of its occurrence to a fixed time interval, one act of domestic violence occurs every 7 minutes and 29 seconds.
- Assaults accounted for 42 percent (29,743) and harassment accounted for 44 percent (30,974) of the reported offenses.
- Arrests were made in 31 percent (21,654) of the offenses.
- Children were involved or present during 31 percent (21,687) of all domestic violence offenses occurring in 2011.
- Wives were the victims in 18 percent (12,317) and ex-wives were the victims in 3 percent (2,239) of the reported domestic violence offenses.
- Domestic violence offenses arising from a dating relationship accounted for 14 percent (10,124) of the state total.
- Overall, females were victims in 76 percent (53,155) of all domestic violence offenses.
- Alcohol and/or drugs were involved in 26 percent (18,323) of the reported offenses occurring in 2011. Alcohol involvement alone accounted for 23 percent (16,365) of the total domestic violence offenses reported.
- Persons age 60 or over were victims in 4 percent (2,961) of all reported domestic violence offenses that occurred in 2011, and elderly persons were the victims in 15 percent (6) of the domestic violence murders (40).
We need, as a society, to look for the causes of domestic violence, come up with preventive measures to protect those endangered by it, develop resources to assist its victims, and create laws that punish its perpetrators. This is not going to happen overnight, nor in a specially designated month or even a yearâs time. It is an ongoing project, and one that we all need to be aware of and participate in on a regular basis.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for immediate assistance. If you need legal help in extricating yourself from a violent or abusive relationship, call our office at 856-227-7888 or email [email protected] for a free consultation.
The above is not specific legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship. Do not rely upon it without consulting an attorney to see how the information presented fits your unique circumstances.