October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 18, 2022

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month was launched in the United States in October 1987. In 1989, Congress passed a law officially designating the month. This serves to highlight the prevalence of intimate partner violence as well as its seriousness. Moreover, it brings attention to the fact that anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual identity or orientation, or socioeconomic status, can become a victim.


What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

In these situations, one intimate partner may physically harm, intimidate, manipulate or control the other partner. For example, this could include control through physical or sexual violence, threats, emotional abuse, or financial control. According to experts, multiple forms of abuse are usually present at the same time in abusive situations.


How Common is Intimate Partner Violence?

Research indicates that an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute. As such, this equals more than 10 million abuse victims each year.

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking
  • Of those victims, approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men need medical care. Women are three times more likely to sustain injuries.
  • Almost 1 in four women and more than 1 in 10 men have experienced severe physical violence

When an abuser has access to a firearm, this increases the risk of a woman being killed by 400%. Nearly 1 in 5 cases of intimate partner violence involve a weapon. For all homicides, 1 in 2 female murder victims and 1 in 13 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners.

When it comes to sexual violence, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 12 men have experienced sexual violence by an intimate partner. Regarding stalking, 1 in 10 women and 1 in 50 men have experienced stalking by an intimate partner. Of all stalking cases, two-thirds of female stalking victims reported stalking by a current or former intimate partner.


How New York Handles Domestic Violence Criminal Cases

When a person is arrested for a crime of intimate partner violence, that case may be handled by one of New York’s domestic violence parts. These courts include a dedicated judge, specially-trained staff, resource coordination, on-site victim advocacy, and collaboration with technical assistance teams. In some situations, the same judge may preside over the criminal case and any related family law cases, such as divorce or custody proceedings.

If you’ve experienced domestic violence, there are several resources.

  • Call 911 for emergency police assistance
  • Telephone your local police department or district attorney’s office
  • Call the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 800-942-6906 or text 844-997-2121, or visit their website at
  • Reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, or visit their website at



Image: by