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National Intimate Partner – and Sexual Violence Survey
2010 Summary Report
Executive Summary November 2011
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are major public health problems in the United States. Many survivors of these forms of violence can experience physical injury, mental health consequences such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicide attempts, and other health consequences such as gastrointestinal disorders, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and gynecological or pregnancy complications. These consequences can lead to hospitalization, disability, or death.
Our understanding of these forms of violence has grown substantially over the years. However, timely, ongoing, and comparable national and state-level data are lacking. Less is also known about how these forms of violence impact specific populations in the United States or the extent to which rape, stalking, or violence by a romantic or sexual partner are experienced in childhood and adolescence.
CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control launched the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey in 2010 with the support of the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defense to address these gaps.
The primary objectives of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey describe:
The prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence;
Who is most likely to experience these forms of violence;
The patterns and impact of the violence experienced by specific perpetrators;
The health consequences of these forms of violence.
This report presents information related to several types of violence that have not previously been measured in a national population-based survey, including types of sexual violence other than rape; expressive psychological aggression and coercive control, and control of reproductive or sexual health. This report also provides the first ever simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of violence for all states.
Men and women who experienced rape or stalking by any perpetrator or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime were more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with sleeping, activity limitations, poor physical health and poor mental health than men and women who did not experience these forms of violence. Women who had experienced these forms of violence were also more likely to report having asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and diabetes than women who did not experience these forms of violence.
Implications for Prevention
The findings in this report underscore the heavy toll that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence places on women, men, and children in the United States. Violence often begins at an early age and commonly leads to negative health consequences across the lifespan. Collective action is needed to implement prevention approaches, ensure appropriate responses, and support these efforts based on strong data and research.
Prevention efforts should start early by promoting healthy, respectful relationships in families by fostering healthy parent-child relationships and developing positive family dynamics and emotionally supportive environments. These environments provide a strong foundation for children, help them to adopt positive interactions based on respect and trust, and foster effective and non-violent communication and conflict resolution in their peer and dating relationships. It is equally important to continue addressing the beliefs, attitudes and messages that are deeply embedded in our social structures and that create a climate that condones sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence. For example, this can be done through norms change, changing policies and enforcing existing policies against violence, and promoting bystander approaches to prevent violence before it happens.
In addition to prevention efforts, survivors of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence need coordinated services to ensure healing and prevent recurrence of victimization. The healthcare system’s response must be strengthened and better coordinated for both sexual violence and intimate partner violence survivors to help navigate the health care system and access needed services and resources in the short and long term. One way to strengthen the response to survivors is through increased training of healthcare professionals. It is also critically important to ensure that legal, housing, mental health, and other services and resources are available and accessible to survivors.
Holding Perpetrators Accountable
An important part of any response to sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence is to hold perpetrators accountable. Survivors may be reluctant to disclose their victimization for a variety of reasons including shame, embarrassment, fear of retribution from perpetrators, or a belief that they may not receive support from law enforcement. Laws may also not be enforced adequately or consistently and perpetrators may become more dangerous after their victims report these crimes. It is important to enhance training efforts within the criminal justice system to better engage and support survivors and thus hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
Much progress has been made in the prevention of violence. There is strong reason to believe that the application of effective strategies combined with the capacity to implement them will make a difference. The lessons already learned during public health’s short experience with violence prevention are consistent with those from public health’s much longer experience with the prevention of infectious and chronic diseases. Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence can be prevented with data-driven, collaborative action.
CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an ongoing, nationally-representative telephone survey that collects detailed information on sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization of adult women and men in the United States. The survey collects data on past-year experiences of violence as well as lifetime experiences of violence. The 2010 survey is the first year of the survey and provides baseline data that will be used to track trends in sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence. CDC developed NISVS to better describe and monitor the magnitude of these forms of violence in the United States.
Highlights of 2010 Findings
Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are widespread in the United States. The findings in this report underscore the heavy toll of this violence, the immediate impacts of victimization, and the lifelong health consequences.
Overall, lifetime and one year estimates for sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence were alarmingly high for adult Americans; with IPV alone affecting more than 12 million people each year. Women are disproportionately impacted. They experienced high rates of severe intimate partner violence, rape and stalking, and long-term chronic disease and other health impacts such as PTSD symptoms. NISVS also shows that most rape and IPV is first experienced before age 24, highlighting the importance of preventing this violence before it occurs to ensure that all people can live life to their fullest potential.
The majority of this victimization starts early in life.
• Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half experienced the first rape before age 18 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10).
• About 35% of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults compared to 14% of women without an early rape history.
• 28% of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
Provided by: National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey
1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) • email@example.com • https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/
Made available through the Web site of https://hopeforchildrenfoundation.org/
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