Nearly 4 million Californians report sexual or physical violence from a spouse or companion

Apr 29, 2010

Nearly 4 million adults in California reported being a victim of physical or sexual violence at the hands of a spouse, companion or other intimate partner, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Of those victims, more than 1 million reported being forced to have sex by an intimate partner, the study found.

Although reported incidences of intimate partner violence, or IPV, are widespread, especially among women and certain ethnic groups, reported IPV was surprisingly high among lesbians, gays and bisexuals in California, who are almost twice as likely to experience violence as heterosexual adults, researchers said.

Specifically, 27.9 percent of all lesbian or gay adults reported experiencing IPV in their adult lives. The rate of reported IPV is even higher among bisexual adults, at 40.6 percent. In contrast, only 16.7 percent of heterosexual adults reported incidences of IPV.

"This is not a group commonly associated with violence," said the study's lead author, Elaine Zahnd, a sociologist and senior research scientist at the Public Health Institute, which partners with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in conducting the California Health Interview Survey. "These findings should cause us to reconsider our assumptions about the root causes of violence, even as we redouble our efforts to eradicate it."

Zahnd noted that the large number of Californians experiencing violence made the preservation of state-subsidized shelters and services — currently under threat from — all the more essential.

Also important, the researchers said, is routine screening by health providers to check for signs that might be indicative of violent victimization among men and women, such as substance abuse. In the study, researchers found that nearly one in 10 victims of recent IPV engaged in binge drinking, possibly as a way of coping with the mental and emotional trauma of abuse. Such signs might help health providers identify a problem that is often not obvious, as only 56.5 percent of victims report talking about such violence with a third party.

"This is often an invisible health crisis," said study co-author David Grant, director of UCLA's California Health Interview Survey.

The study, supported by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, draws on new data on IPV from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey and consequently one of the largest surveys of IPV victims in the nation. The CHIS is also one of the few surveys to collect extensive health data on lesbians, gays and bisexuals. The survey is conducted by the UCLA Center for Research, in collaboration with the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services.

Other findings from the study include:

Divorced, widowed Californians at risk

The rate of adult IPV among Californians who are separated, divorced or widowed is among the highest of all groups, at 41.0 percent. This is nearly twice the rate of adults living with a partner (24.6 percent) and more than three times the rate of married (13.3 percent) or single (13.2 percent) adults.

Gender disparity persists

Women are almost twice as likely (21.0 percent) to be victims of adult physical violence as men (11.0 percent) and are eight times (8.0 percent) as likely to report being the victim of since turning 18 as men (1.0 percent).

High levels of recent IPV among Latinos

While the overall IPV rate was relatively low among Latinos — only 13.7 percent of American-born and 10.5 percent of foreign-born Latinos reported experiencing IPV since turning 18 — 28.3 percent of those who have experienced IPV reported incidences in the last 12 months, the second highest rate of recent IPV after African Americans (30.6 percent).

Asians have the lowest rates of IPV

Among U.S.-born Asians, 13.4 percent reported incidences of IPV. Among foreign-born Asians, the rate was even lower, at 7.1 percent.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Provided by University of California - Los Angeles

4 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Abused women seek more infant health care, study finds

Dec 16, 2008

Pregnant women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) before, during or after pregnancy often suffer adverse health effects, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and chronic mental illness. ...

Anti-gay hate crimes widespread

Jul 02, 2007

Nearly four in 10 gay men and about one in eight lesbians and bisexuals in the United States have been the target of violence or a property crime because of their sexual orientation, according to a new study by University ...

Avoiding secondhand smoke during pregnancy

Jan 27, 2009

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) commonly called secondhand smoke, can harm a developing fetus and may account for complications during pregnancy and birth. It is now known that non-whites experience more adverse pregnancy ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.