Domestic Violence
CNN —  

Here’s a look at information and statistics concerning domestic (intimate partner) violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, intimate partner violence includes victimization by current and former spouses or current and former dating partners. Violence can include physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse, according to the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.


Thirty-five percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, according to the United Nations.

According to a Global Study on Homicide, of all women globally who were the victims of homicide in 2017, more than a third were killed by a partner from a current or past relationship.

United States

Each year - Over 12 million women and men are victims of intimate partner violence, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Between 1994 and 2011, the rates of serious intimate partner violence perpetrated on women fell 72%.

26.1% of intimate partner violence victims received assistance from a victim-service agency in 2019, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (and loveisrespect, its project for teens and young adults) answered 362,897 calls, chats and texts in 2019.


June 19, 1990 - S. 2754, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is introduced in Congress by Senator Joseph Biden, but it is not enacted.

June 1991 - The American Medical Association publishes recommendations that physicians routinely inquire about possible abuse.

January 21, 1993 - Biden re-introduces the bill.

September 13, 1994 - President Bill Clinton signs the Violence Against Women Act into law within the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. It must be renewed every five years. The law also establishes the Violence Against Women Policy Office and the Violence Against Women Grants Office (now the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women).

February 21, 1996 - The National Domestic Violence Hotline receives its first calls, and gets 4,826 calls its first month.

1999 - The Office of Violence Against Women is created by a merger of the Violence Against Women Policy Office and the Violence Against Women Grants Office.

October 28, 2000 - The Violence Against Women Act of 2000 is reauthorized with new provisions and signed into law by President Clinton. The new provisions include the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and expanded measures for battered immigrant women.

August 2, 2003 - The hotline receives its millionth call.

January 5, 2006 - The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 is signed into law by President George W. Bush, with new provisions on dating violence, Native American women and the use of DNA fingerprinting.

April 28, 2009 - The National Domestic Violence Hotline receives its two millionth call.

April 26, 2012 - The Senate votes on S.1925 to reauthorize VAWA with expanded measures to include battered illegal immigrant women, Native American women and the LGBT community.

May 16, 2012 - The House votes on H.R. 4970 to reauthorize VAWA. The House version omits the expanded measures of the Senate bill.

December 31, 2012 - For the first time since it was enacted, VAWA expires. VAWA, which must be renewed every five years, is not reauthorized by Congress.

March 7, 2013 - S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 is signed into law by President Barack Obama, with new provisions. The new provisions address the needs of undocumented immigrant women, Native American women, the LGBT community and teen dating violence and reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

March 13, 2013 - Biden announces the Obama Administration’s Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative as part of the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act.

July 2013 - The National Domestic Violence hotline receives its three millionth call.

March 9, 2015 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that the world has made “uneven progress” in combating violence against women and gender inequality and that it still “persists in alarmingly high levels.”

January 2017 - US President Donald Trump signs executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” According to the Tahirih Justice Center, the order may keep abused women who are undocumented from seeking legal protection for fear of deportation.

January 1, 2019 - Ireland’s Domestic Violence Act 2018 goes into effect and provides new protections for victims of “coercive control,” a type of emotional and psychological abuse aimed at stripping a person of their self-worth and agency.

February 15, 2019 - The VAWA grant program expires the day after it is left out of the funding bill that ends the partial government shutdown. House Democrats plan to push for an overhaul of the legislation. H.R.1585, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, is introduced March 7 and passed April 4.

November 13, 2019 - S.2843, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, is introduced in the Senate over seven months after it passes the House. Senate Republicans object to the House bill for several reasons, including the inclusion of protections for transgender people and a provision that would prohibit those convicted of certain misdemeanor charges from purchasing firearms. No further action is taken in 2019 regarding the grant program.

March 17, 2021 - The House votes to pass H.R.1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021, introduced March 8 by Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee (D-Texas). It is received in the Senate the next day. According to a fact sheet from the House Judiciary Committee, the bill will improve and expand aid and services for victims and survivors and includes provisions to make safe housing more accessible. It will also ensure that state unemployment benefits cannot be denied to individuals who leave jobs due to sexual harassment or assault, domestic or dating violence or stalking.