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When Violence Hits Home: How Economics and Neighborhood Play a Role, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
12 pages
Publication Series
This report summarizes findings from a federally sponsored study exploring the dynamics among household economics, neighborhood economics, and levels of intimate partner violence.
To shed light on the connections between intimate violence and personal and economic well-being, as well as on how the type of neighborhood in which one lives influences them to stay in or leave the abusive relationship, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice sponsored a study which took a broader look at the factors which play in intimate violence. The findings suggested that service providers who help victims of violence should give priority to women in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and address their economic circumstances. Overall findings include: (1) violence against women in intimate relationships occurred more often and was more severe in economically disadvantage neighborhoods; (2) for individuals involved, both objective and subjective forms of economic distress increased the risk of intimate violence against women; (3) women who lived in economically disadvantaged communities and were struggling with money suffered the greatest risk; and (4) African-Americans and Whites with the same economic characteristics have similar rates of intimate violence, but African-Americans had a higher overall rate of intimate violence. Additional findings are presented on the effects of economic distress (i.e. male job instability, income levels, financial strain, and severity of violence), the increased risk of intimate violence due to the combination of individual economic distress and a community’s economic disadvantage, and on socioeconomics, race, and violence. The study suggests to policymakers and intimate violence providers that violence against domestic partners does not occur solely because of an offender’s psychological makeup or the inability to resolve conflicts constructively.

Date Published: September 1, 2004