NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Domestic Assailants Had Multiple Victims

December 16, 1999

A new analysis of domestic violence cases reports nearly 25 percent of those studied had assaulted more than one victim. Of those with multiple victims, 91 percent had previous adult or juvenile crime records. The Massachusetts Probation Commissioner study looked at citizens who had temporary restraining orders against them in domestic cases between 1992 and 1998.

The report, the first of its kind, defined serial batterers as those who were named in at least two court-ordered restraining orders involving at least two unrelated victims.

  • About 11,000 assailants each year could be counted as serial batterers.
  • They attacked up to 26,000 victims yearly.
  • A large percentage of the victims were wives or other women involved in ongoing or past dating relationships.
  • About 13 percent of the serial batterers were female, and the sex of their victims was not specified.

While the study only covers one state, it reflects a trend discovered in other research into women as victims of violence. In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that women were attacked six times more often by those with whom they'd had intimate relationships than by strangers. Nearly one-third of all female homicide victims were killed by their husbands, boyfriends or former boyfriends. Only three percent of male homicide victims were killed by their wives or girlfriends.

Source: Kevin Johnson, "Study Says Assailants Had Multiple Victims," USA Today, December 16, 1999.


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