Violence Against Women 19(6)
The Battered Woman
, published in 1979, offers an early point of reference for the significant amount of domestic violence research that would follow.This was years before any reliable national data on the extent of wife assaults, butWalker estimated that “one out of every two families contains violence.” The violence,she suggested, was “almost always committed by a man against a woman” (Walker,1979, p. 252). The first major attempt to rigorously measure these crimes on a nationallevel, but not with a focus on criminal behavior or justice so much as a focus on partner conflict tactics (Straus, 1979), appeared in the same year as Walker’s research.Domestic violence research focused on criminal justice concerns came to the forefrontin the 1990s, when the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) began receiving funds on anannual basis through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, see Auchter & Moore,this issue).Recent data suggest that more than one third of women in the United States (35.6%,or approximately 42.4 million) have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalk-ing by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. One in three women (32.9%)has experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, and nearly 1 in 10 (9.4%)has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Approximately 5.9%, or almost7.0 million women in the United States, reported experiencing these forms of violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to being surveyed (Black et al., 2011).Despite funding a variety of targeted programs under the VAWA, the statistics on the prevalence and incidence of domestic violence remain staggering and indicate a needfor continued interventions as well as the systematic study of the impact of these inter-ventions and the underlying causes and contexts of these crimes.Over the past 18 years, the steady flow of funds designated for VAW research wasessential to building NIJ’s research portfolio on domestic violence and supporting arange of domestic violence studies on topics such as child custody, batterer interven-tion, victim services, prevalence and incidence, and policy and program evaluations.Some of the influential work undertaken by NIJ includes collaborative efforts with theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in developing and conducting the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000) andthe National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) (Black et al.,2011) in an effort to measure the incidence and prevalence of domestic violence. The NVAWS remains a frequently cited source and has been analyzed in a large number of secondary analyses. Despite progress made in furthering our understanding of intimate partner violence (IPV), a number of challenges remain that inhibit the development of a cumulative body of knowledge.
Definitional and Measurement Advancement and Challenges
The field has worked for several years to better understand the dynamics of IPV anddetermine how to best define and measure the behavior. Although progress has beenmade in the creation of comprehensive definitions and guidance for the collection of key data points (Saltzman, Fanslow, McMahon, & Shelley, 2002), there remains a