The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security defines domestic violence as “a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors and tactics used by one person over another to gain power and control. [It] may include verbal abuse, financial abuse, emotional, sexual and physical abuse.”
This government website further states that domestic violence “occurs in heterosexual, as well as same-sex partnerships, and crosses all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic lines.”
Additional facts and statistics are provided by the state to help citizens gain a more thorough understanding of the nature and scope of domestic violence.
Basic Facts About Domestic Violence
The state of Massachusetts provides the following information derived from U. S. Department of Justice, FBI and other research sources concerning this crime.
- Ninety-five percent (95%) of domestic violence victims are women;
- Every year, over three million women are battered;
- The U. S. Surgeon General has said that domestic violence is “the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 — more than rapes, muggings, and car accidents combined;”
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that women are “in nine times more danger “in [their] own homes that on the street;”
- During one carefully studied year in the late 1990s, “nearly one-third of all women murdered in the U. S. . . . were killed by a current or former intimate partner; guns were used in almost two-thirds of the homicides;”
- Another study revealed that approximately thirty-seven percent (37%) of women who receive emergency room treatment for “violence related injuries were [harmed] by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend;”
- Young teens also encounter domestic violence while dating. During one year, researchers concluded that “between twelve and thirty-five percent (12% and 35%) of teenagers have experienced some form of violence from pushing and shoving to hitting.”
Although false claims of domestic violence are sometimes filed and deserve appropriate legal defense, the state of Massachusetts mainly focuses on providing public and private resources for the actual victims of this pervasive crime.
General Massachusetts Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence
When faced with an incident of domestic violence, Massachusetts residents are urged to contact one or both of the following groups (in addition to calling 9-1-1 for immediate help).
- SafeLink is a 24-hour free, multilingual hotline available to guide victims of domestic violence to helpful Massachusetts programs. (Both hearing and deaf victims can call
- Jane Doe Inc. This group also refers to itself as The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. According to its website, Jane Doe Inc. is “the only sexual and domestic violence statewide, non-profit, advocacy membership organization in Massachusetts.” The group provides extensive resources through its sixty (60) community-based, sexual assault and domestic violence programs. Victims who contact Jane Doe Inc. can obtain immediate (crisis) and long-term help from the group.
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By Elizabeth Smith