California Domestic Violence Statistics


Domestic violence is a problem everywhere in the country. While men are sometimes the victims of domestic violence, surveys suggest that approximately 80% of domestic violence victims are female.

Some evidence suggests that there are more domestic violence victims per capita in California than the national average. That evidence does not necessarily suggest that women in California are at greater risk of becoming domestic violence victims than women who live elsewhere, but it does point to the need for California to make a greater commitment to helping victims and to teaching abusers how to manage their anger.

Measuring domestic violence

Getting a handle on the extent of the domestic violence problem in California is not easy. Arrest statistics tell only part of the story. Not every act of domestic violence results in an arrest and not every arrest is based on a truthful accusation.

Surveys may provide better insight into the domestic abuse problem but surveys often reach conflicting results. Some surveys are agenda-driven while others reflect a more scientific approach. Different definitions of “domestic violence” and “domestic abuse” can lead to different results, as can survey methodologies. In addition, when survey respondents are asked to “self-report” violence, some people may be fearful or ashamed to admit that they have been victimized (even after receiving assurances of anonymity), while others may define themselves as victims when an objective assessment would show that they are not.

CDC Survey

The Centers for Disease Control & Injury Prevention (CDC) employ some of the most respected scientists in the United States government. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS) may therefore be one of the more reliable sources of domestic violence statistics.

A section of the NIPSVS contains data about the proportion of people in each state who experience intimate partner violence over the course of a lifetime. The CDC cautions against using the data to make a state-by-state comparison, because a victim who presently lives in California may have been victimized in a different state.

According to the most recent NIPSVS, 32.9% of women living in California have, at some point in their lives, been the victim of violence, sexual violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. That adds up to more than 4.5 million women now living in California who have experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives.

The California results are higher than the nationwide average of 1 women in 4 who reported being the victim of intimate partner violence or stalking. The survey defines “intimate partner” as two people of the same or opposite gender living together currently or in the past in a romantic or sexual relationship.

California Women’s Heath Survey

The California Women’s Health Survey reflects the combined effort of two private organizations and various state agencies that address physical and mental health. That survey concluded that about 40 percent of women residing in California reported being a victim of intimate partner violence at some point in their lifetimes. Survey results also showed that:

  • Non-white women reported higher rates of intimate partner violence than white women
  • Younger women (18-29) reported the highest rates of intimate partner violence
  • Low income women reported higher rates of intimate partner violence that women with higher incomes
  • Women who graduated from a four-year college or university had lower rates of intimate partner violence than women who had a high school education
  • Women who self-reported more than 2 weeks of poor mental health or feelings of being overwhelmed reported higher rates of intimate partner violence than women who did not self-report those feelings

Unmet needs

Perhaps the most important statistics are those that demonstrate a gap between services that domestic violence victims need and services they receive. A statewide survey conducted on September 12, 2012 found:

  • More than 5,000 victims received services relating to domestic violence that day.
  • Almost 3,000 of those victims were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing.
  • Nearly 800 victims who asked for emergency shelter or transitional housing were turned away because the programs did not have adequate resources to serve their needs.
  • Hundreds of additional victims were unable to receive other needed services (such as legal representation, transportation, or child care) because service providers lacked the resources to fill their requests.

No person who needs help, whether a victim of domestic violence or an abuser who wants to enter a treatment program, should be turned away. Instead of building prisons and jails, California government should address domestic violence by making a total commitment to helping people who need it.

  • TruthSeeker

    I am suffering from domestic abuse. I am very very tired, nervous, and depressed about my situation. I want that mentally ill, violent person out of my life. He is constantly threatening me, manipulating me, overpowering me, and is extremely controlling, always lying, stealing, talks to himself,becomes paranoid, has choked me in the past, drives reckless on a suspended license, kills animals by running them over on purpose, has nearly crashed on several occasions., is bi-polar, gambles, has very risky behavior, is extremely verbally abuse, has very poor personal hygiene, is extremely disrespectful, but always demanding respect, hates women, puts everybody down, and always uses the race card to explain his foul actions. His immaturity is unbelievable for a man his age, and he is a sociopath.He always says people are lucky that he did not gun them down, and speaks about obtaining a gun. I do not have anyone to turn to, as people are fearful, and do not want to get involved. There just is not any assistance available, and he is living for free under my roof, and has demanded money from me for gasoline, and auto parts. He has stolen around one thousand dollars from me to pay a gambling debt, because he told me a gang member/bookie held a gun to his head. He will not get out of my house, and says if I do anything to get him out, that I will deeply regret it. He cannot hold down employment. He enjoys destroying my property, and makes horrible messes.

    • To ensure that the details of this case remain private, you should refrain from posting on a public forum such as this. If you would like a free, no obligation consultation, you can call us at (888) 250-2865. We’re happy to help.

    • Carla McDonald Newson

      Omg!!! You should seriously just make him move out!!! When he is not around, go file a restraining order against him!! The police or court will serve him that order and if he violates that order he will go to jail. Don’t put up with that crap!! I hope you’re okay!! I see that you posted this 2months ago as today 3/16/17

      • TruthSeeker

        I wish it were that simple. I am physically disabled without transportation, and very rarely is he gone long enough, or when the court is open. I have attempted this before, and he followed me, and blocked me. I need to find an attorney who will allow me to make monthly payments, and have that attorney get the monster out. However, if it cannot be done in an ‘Emergency Eviction’, meaning immediate, it will really put me in harms way. He seems to be totally fearless, yet at times, has become extremely paranoid, followed by violence. His family is not very bright, it seems, and are enablers. They do not want to face facts, and even covered up the fact that he caused his own sister to have a miscarriage. It was a blessing in disguise, because she was only around fourteen years old at the time, and abortion would have been really bad, and especially since their father was a baptist preacher. The monster told me that he does not know if his father even knew that his only daughter was even pregnant. So the coverup makes perfect sense. Why cause more upset? By the way, his sister is also bi-polar, but she told me the truth about her sick brother, and the horrible things that he has done. It sounded just like what I am going through, so I am 100% positive that she is telling me the truth. Yet, I have learned that she is abusing her own grown son, who seems to have turned out quite well, considering that his own father is a monster too. His own abusive mother was abused by his father, and was forced to sleep in a dog house, according to my abuser. I never asked her, but now I am troubled about what became of the poor dog? Where there is a doghouse, there must have been a dog. The poor critter must have been beaten to death, or something. I will try to find out, even though there is nothing I, nor anyone else, can do about it. Serial killers usually start out harming animals first, but my monster is not a serial killer. Yet he may have info. regarding certain things about his sisters ex, who is a very screwed up military person. I will not even call him a man. My abuser can sometimes tell the truth, or he will mix the truth with his fabrications. That alone, is enough to drive someone nuts. He is a drain on what little, if any, energy that I have. My health has really deteriorated with all the horror, and stress the monster has put me through, and I look like hell, and have put on weight. I am not old enough to have white hair, and eyebrows. So-called ‘permanent’ hair color is not working out so well either. He is not here right now, because he is with an ex jailer/sheriff, who was also badly abused by her rotten ex- husband, who is a cop, of course. My abuser repairs her vehicles for cheap, and I wish she would allow him to move in with her. However, the monster knows that he will not get away with harming her, because she has a gun, and was in law enforcement. He told me he definitely does not want to live with her, and that she will work him to death. That would be very nice for me, and any other potential victims. Literally working him to death. I have been told my many, that I should write a book. With all the hell in my life, a series of books would be more like it. At any rate, I wish the monster would go nuts on her, but he is too intelligent for that. He claims she pulled a gun on him at church, several years ago. When I mentioned this to her the other day, she laughed. I had a few short minutes alone with her, and quickly told her as much as I could about this scary rotten situation, and then the monster came outside. He claims he heard everything, but I doubt it. I hope she does not tell him the details, because she is too much like me, and is fully capable of talking too much. I do not want to set him off, if further harm will come to me as a result. I just want to expose him, and get him busted for what he is. I do not need him in my life, yet he really knows how to repair things. He is quite intelligent, which can be a good thing, or a bad thing. Unfortunately, he is also quite evil, and knows how the law works. He uses people to his own advantage, and then admits that he cannot stand them.

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