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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence and African Americans

Domestic violence affects people of all races, income-levels, ages, and sexual preferences. Some minority groups, however, have been especially hard-hit. This includes the African American community.


In a 1998 study by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, 64.8% of the 405 African Americans called viewed domestic violence as one of the most serious issues facing their community.


In the same study, 42.9% of the 405 African American respondents said that they had strong reason to believe that a woman they knew had been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.


Approximately one in three African American women are abused by a husband or partner in the course of a lifetime. 1


Of the women who die from domestic violence, 28% are African American. 2

Many national and local groups are trying to decrease abuse in African American communities through awareness, education and intervention programs. These groups point out that:


Minorities need to develop visible leadership to speak out against domestic violence.


Community leaders need to organize events that increase awareness of domestic violence in minority neighborhoods.


Communities must refuse to ignore or tolerate abuse.


Families need to know how they can take effective action to end abuse.


Everyone needs to recognize the alarming statistics, especially regarding the impact of domestic violence on women and children.


Law enforcement and court systems need to treat all abuse as important, even if the violence is in a same-gender relationship.

In Ohio, call toll free 1-800-934-9840 for help finding a shelter, counseling, and assistance. From anywhere else in the United States, call toll free 1-800-799-SAFE for help finding a shelter, counseling, and assistance in your area.

1 U.S. Department of Justice, "Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey," NCJ 181867, July 2000 (http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/181867.pdf)

2 FBI, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 1976-1999 (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/tables/intgendertab.htm)

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Last Reviewed: Aug 21, 2009

Kenneth   Davis, Jr, MD, FACS Kenneth Davis, Jr, MD, FACS
Professor of Surgery and Clinical Anesthesia
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati