NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women, Children Safer In Marriage Environment

April 15, 2002

Marriage is the only institution that protects mothers and children from domestic abuse, according to a new study from the Heritage Foundation.

  • The report reveals that domestic abuse is twice as high among women who have never married than among those who have.
  • Children of divorced or never-married mothers are six to 30 times more likely to suffer from serious abuse than children raised by both biological parents who are married.
  • Never-married women experience more domestic abuse than those who are married.
  • Children who live with their mother and a boyfriend who is not their father are 33 times more likely to be abused.

The rate of abuse is six times higher in stepfamilies, 14 times higher in the single-mother family and 20 times higher in cohabiting biological-parent families.

Source: Ellen Sorokin, "Marriage Safest Bet to Prevent Abuse, Heritage Data Show," Washington Times, April 15, 2002; based on Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, "Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children," Backgrounder No. 1535, April 10, 2002, Heritage Foundation.


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