Domestic violence in Michigan

This post first defines domestic violence and then attempts to portray it statistically in Michigan and in one neighborhood in Detroit. This is a first cut on a topic we hope to cover more fully later.  In 2007 there were 73,927 domestic violence offenses reported, according to the Michigan State Police, along with 101,388 domestic violence victims.

According to the Michigan State Police, the term domestic violence is a pattern of learned behavior in which one person uses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse to control another person. Domestic violence can occur within relationships between spouses or former spouses, dating or formerly dating couples, individuals with a child in common, or residents or former residents of a common household. Although most acts of violence occur within the place of residence, it should not be considered a ‘family problem’. Physical abuse is used to gain power and control over another person, and barriers often prevent victims from making a police report or leaving an abusive relationship.

Beyond physical altercations domestic abuse can be sexual, emotional, psychological, and economic. Leaving an abusive relationship is not an easy option for victims. Barriers to getting out of an abusive relationship include social and cultural pressures, lack of community resources, low self-esteem, self-guilt, concern for children, fear of increased violence, and economic constraint (displayed in the above figure). Lethality can also occur when a victim decides to end a relationship and she/he may not know where to seek assistance such as legal aid, shelter, counseling, etc.

If you or someone you know are looking for assistance contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are being threatened or are fearful of your safety, report it.

The above graphs show information on domestic violence as reported to the Michigan State Police in 2007; this is the most recent data available. As can be seen by the information provided, the 20-29 age group was most affected by domestic violence, as are females, in the state of Michigan. Of the 101,388 domestic violence victims, 27,751 were males, 73,545 were females and 92 were unknown, according to the Michigan State Police.

Most incidents of domestic violence result in an apparent minor injury or no injury, or are classified as unknown.  The number of incidents of domestic violence is likely to be a low estimate of actual incidents, since cases often go unreported.

The incidence of domestic violence occurring in this specific Detroit neighborhood is substantially higher than the State of Michigan average. In 2011 there were approximately 400 incidents of domestic violence within the neighborhood. Based on population, the number of incidents was approximately 1 per 51 persons in this neighborhood and 1 per 136 in Michigan. This indicates the rate of domestic violence in the neighborhood was approximately 2.5 times higher than the state average in 2011. In the neighborhood, the incidence of domestic violence decreased by nearly one quarter from 2007 to 2011. Approximately 80 percent of domestic violence cases were classified as assault, which includes threats, physical altercations, or weapons.  These incidents most often occur between intimate partners at the place of residence.

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