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Patterns of Violence Against Women: Risk Factors and Consequences, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2004
53 pages
This study examined patterns of violence against women over the life course and identified the related risk factors and consequences of such violence.
Violence against women is distinct from violence against men in its strong relational nature; 78 percent of female victims are victimized by someone they know compared with only 51 percent of men. The current study addressed three main gaps in the research literature concerning violence against women. First, the current study examined patterns of both physical and sexual victimization over the life course and across a variety of victim-offender relationships. Second, individual risk factors for the identified patterns of victimization were examined and third, the consequences of particular patterns of victimization were considered. Data were drawn from the National Violence against Women Survey (NVAWS), a national telephone survey conducted with 8,000 women and 8,005 men from November 1995 through May 1996. Results of statistical analysis underscore the diversity of violence against women; different patterns emerged that showed violent victimization of women could take on many forms. Risk factors that emerged included childhood victimization and socioeconomic deprivation. Just as the patterns of violence were not uniform across the female victims, the consequences of the violent victimization were also diverse and included substance use, poor health outcomes, and perceived safety issues. Implications for policy include the need to tailor interventions in order to implement them within the context of on-going relationships. While the current findings highlighted the importance of childhood victimization in creating patterns of victimization through the life course, future research will need to examine how this early victimization produces these violent patterns. Tables, appendixes, endnotes

Date Published: August 1, 2004