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15 States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

Before we begin our story about 15 states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US, you should know in advance the ranking isn’t based on domestic violence homicide statistics, as it is the case with similar articles. The answer to what state has the highest domestic violence rates isn’t based solely on the number of the deceased victims. This isn’t going to be a very pleasant read either. While you’re reading this, another woman is being beaten somewhere in the States (the incident happens every 9 seconds (!)).

What a surprise then that the US doesn’t have the highest domestic violence rates in the world, nor does it belong to our list of 15 countries with highest rates of domestic violence in the world in 2018. However, it is still appalling that such a highly developed country and a world leader in many fields has issues with domestic violence. Officially, the first breakthrough in domestic violence and women’s rights happened at the beginning of the 19th century when it became illegal for a husband to beat his wife. However, don’t think that was a revolution. The law applied to only a couple of states. It’s doubtful to say how much the state improved over the years. According to domestic violence 1950s statistics, it was perfectly fine to show your wife “who’s the boss” from time to time. It was socially acceptable, no questions asked.  Nowadays, the situation with domestic violence statistics for the US is a world of difference in a way that much more information is collected. Either way, it’s hard to face the facts.

What is the percentage of domestic violence in the United States? National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) claims around 20 people experience some form of physical violence every minute from their intimate partner. This kind of violence is most talked about since it could, and it has deadly consequences, but other forms shouldn’t be neglected either. Battery, intended intimidation, sexual assault and similar forms of abusive behavior fall under the definition of domestic violence, too. Today the law is very specific about it, and usually, the charges can’t be withdrawn once they’re filed. The penalties differ from state to state, but it is very important whether it’s the first such incident or not. In California, the accused will typically serve a 30 days punishment, but it doesn’t have to be the case if it’s his/her first offense. How long you have to stay in jail for domestic violence depends on a lot of factors, and mostly they have to do with the (possible) consequences of the act, e.g., severe injuries or trauma. Child abuse is a special category.

Domestic violence in the USA is harsh reality despite all the efforts. One in three women is killed by intimate partners, while with men the ratio is 1:20. On average, the domestic violence hotlines receive about 20,800 calls on the national level. Which state is the safest state in the United States would be a very difficult question to answer. The states we have on our list are so versatile it’s hard to say they have much in common. However, there is one criterion we have applied to give you domestic violence statistics by state. This is how our process went.

While National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a great report and we used it for reference, it is detailed up to a point. Namely, it is done for 2013, and there isn’t a unique criterion for all the states, but rather a list of random facts. We based our findings on the opinion expressed by Family and Youth Services Bureau. Apparently, more than 80% of the homeless people have been victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, the street is sometimes the only option since shelters can’t meet all the demands (for example, 12,197 requests were declined in only one day). Actually, from January 2018, the homeless will be asked one more obligatory question: are they fleeing domestic violence? Bearing this in mind, we found the percentages of the homeless by a state in the annual report for 2017 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (AHAR) and ranked them from the lowest to the highest. In the case when the rates were the same, the state which had the bigger number of homeless families came first (most of the victims are single mothers with children).

If you’d like to have some more details, i.e., read about the cities, we discussed the topic in 15 cities with the highest domestic violence rates in the US.

Finally, here are 15 states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US, or should we say, 15 states with an alarming state.

15. North Dakota

North Dakota takes care of the abused through the programs of its 21 organizations. These offer shelter, and often have daycare for children.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

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14. Wyoming

Usually the services’ main “customers” are women. When it comes to languages, there’s an interesting situation. The most dominating languages are English, Spanish, and sign language (in this order).

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

Daryl Lang / Shutterstock.com

13. Montana

Between 2000 and 2013 there were 112 fatalities as a direct consequence of domestic violence by intimate partners. In addition, possession of guns increases the likelihood of death by 500%. As an illustration of the situation in Montana, we can take a look at the fact that 238 domestic violence victims looked for shelter on one day in 2014. Almost half of them were children.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

Unsplash/Public domain

12. Florida

While the domestic violence rates remained the same in the recent years, the incidence of stalking increased by 19%.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

Yupa Watchanakit/Shutterstock.com

11. Maine

Let’s mention justice and laws a little bit for these 15 states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US. Domestic violence charge can lead to 364 days in prison, or even more (5 years). It all depends on the consequences of the crime. By the way, the people involved don’t have to be living together for an act to qualify as domestic violence.

10. Vermont

Shockingly, 51% of all the murders in a 16-year period were the cases of domestic violence. As we can see from a recent murder case, the scenario is similar to all the other abuse cases. Everything seems fine at the beginning, until the husband becomes more controlling, followed by wife losing touch with her friends and family, and becoming completely financially dependent. A lack of financial funds is one of the biggest reasons why so many families end up homeless.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com

9. Colorado

16,700 people reported domestic violence of some sorts in 2014. Even though the number is appalling, what is even more worrying is the fact that there are probably just as many cases that were left unreported.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

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8. Massachusetts

The data is scandalous. Almost 50% of women and 25% of men have experienced some kind of sexual assault, while over 1,700 people got protection from the state’s program in one single day.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

kentoh/Shutterstock.com

7. Nevada

We are continuing our list of states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US with Nevada, where laws concerning battering are a subject of some discussion. The internet is full of useful information for victims, but there are often lots of lawyer adverts offering consultations and services to defendants.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

DmitriMaruta/Shutterstock.com

6. Washington

2014 was the year when 41% of the abductions were committed by intimate partners. That can even be called good news compared to the fact that 44 people died in the same year in domestic violence homicides.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com

And now, let’s see the top 5 on our list of states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US, shall we?

5. Oregon

Multnomah County is notorious for violence. The number of children who witnessed an act of domestic violence in some form is huge – 21,000 in only one year! Half of them were less than 5 years old. What is worse, such trauma can lead to later misbehavior in life and lead an adult to follow the example he witnessed in his childhood.

4. California

Even in cases when the victim wishes to drop the charge, that is not possible. Once it is filed, only the judge can decide on the process. While this is great in a way that a victim cannot change his/her mind, it probably puts off people from reporting their spouses or partners because they know once they do it, there’s no turning back.

3. New York

The state in New York ranks 3rd on our list of states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US. It is so horrible it’s painful to read the statistics. They are without a doubt among the highest domestic violence rates in the US. There have been 284,660 domestic violence incidents which required police intervention. While the overall rate of homicide got lower, the domestic violence homicide rate got higher by 16%!

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

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2. Hawaii

Such a beautiful state and a paradise for most, Hawaii, the number two on our list of states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US, can be a real hell for its citizens. Up to 61% of Asian suffer some form of violence. One in 7 women in Hawaii has been raped in her lifetime. Try not to think about that the next time you’re packing bags for your holiday.

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

Pikul Noorod/Shutterstock.com

1. District of Columbia

District of Colombia is in the worst state out of these 15 states with highest rates of domestic violence in the US. The increase in emergency calls in 2013 was enormous. The Metropolitan Police Department received 32,794 domestic violence-related calls in 2013. There are 19 organizations providing services and shelter, but the question remains: is it enough? The three most spoken languages at the shelters are English, Spanish and Vietnamese (in this particular order).

States with Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the US

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