Explaining the Recent Decline in Domestic Violence

By: Amy Farmer and Jill Tiefenthaler. Published by: Contemporary Economic Policy. Published in: April 2003.

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The paper examines the decline in intimate partner abuse from 1993 to 1998 cited in a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The paper reviews Area Identified National Crime Victimization Surveys (NCVS) for 1992-1998, the same data used to generate the DOJ’s national estimates, merged with county-level variables, to examine the determinants of women reporting abuse.


There are three significant factors in explaining the decline in intimate partner abuse:

  • (1) the increased provision of legal services for victims of intimate partner abuse;
  • (2) improved educational and economic status for women; and,
  • (3) demographic trends including the aging of the population and an increase in racial diversity. Specifically, US women have become older, more educated, richer, and more likely to belong to a minority race. In addition, the provision of legal services has exploded in the past decade.

All of these factors are significant determinants of abuse and are trending in the right direction to explain the reduced incidence of domestic violence in the US.

Categories: Domestic Violence, Family, Family, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics, Victims of Crime

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