Report: Nearly Half of Domestic Violence Goes Unreported

The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics says an average of 716,000 instances of nonfatal domestic violence were reported to police annually over the past decade. But 582,000 instances went unreported, or 44 percent of the 1.3 million annual total.

A new federal report drills down into the data on domestic violence, reports the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y. The report, Police Response to Domestic Violence, 2006-2015, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, says an average of about 716,000 instances of nonfatal domestic violence were reported to police each year, and about 582,000 instances went unreported. More than half of all domestic-violence victimizations – 56 percent – were reported to police, with reporting rates similar for intimate-partner violence and violence committed by other relatives.

Police responded to 64 percent of all domestic-violence reports within 10 minutes and took a report at the scene 78 percent of the time. Charges were filed in 39 percent of reported cases, with a higher arrest rate when a complaint was signed and when there was serious injury. Among victims who didn’t report the abuse, about a third made the choice for the sake of privacy; 21 percent were protecting the perpetrator; 20 percent felt the crime was minor, and 10 percent feared reprisal, the report found. Female victims were four times as likely as male victims to forgo reporting because they feared reprisal.