Domestic Violence in the Military
From The Miles Foundation

Interpersonal Violence Associated with the Military: Facts and Findings

The Estimates:

* Recent estimates suggest that domestic violence in the military rose from 18.6 per 1000 in 1990 to 25.6 per 1000 in 1996.

* On average each fiscal year from 1990 to 1996, 23.2 per 1000 spouses of military personnel experienced a violent victimization. -FY90-96, Spouse & Child Maltreatment, Department of Defense

* In FY 2001, 18,000 reported cases of spouse abuse occurred involving military personnel. 11,000 were substantiated, rate of substantiated aggression of 16.5 per 1000. -Symposium on DV Prevention Research, 2002

* The demographic characteristics of victims indicates that the victim is predominantly female, civilian spouse of active duty personnel  who are, on average slightly less than 25 years old.  The spouse abuse victims have children (78%) and more than half have been married for two years of less. Fifty-two percent of the victims live off the installation. -Abuse Victims Study, DoD, 1994 and Final Report on Spouse Abuse, Caliber Associates, 1996

* The predominant type of substantiated spouse abuse is physical abuse.  85 percent of the abuse is physical abuse. -Final Report on Spouse Abuse, Caliber Associates, 1996;

* Of the substantiated cases in 2001, 57% involved mild abuse; 36%, moderate; and 7%, severe. -Symposium on DV Prevention Research, 2002

* 33 percent of the substantiated offenders are involved in mutual abuse. -Final Report on Spouse Abuse, Caliber Associates, 1996

 * Offenders are somewhat less likely to be promoted and somewhat more likely to be separated from the Service.  The fear of negative consequences is probably out of proportion to the true impact. -Abuse Victims Study, DoD, 1994

 * 75 to 84 percent of alleged offenders are honorably discharged. -Abuse Victims Study, DoD, 1994

 * Although data are hard to obtain, it is apparent that relatively few military personnel are prosecute or administratively sanctioned on charges stemming from domestic violence. -Initial Report of the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence, 2001

 * Less than 7 percent of spouse abuse cases are adjudicated by court-marital. -Symposium on DV Prevention Research, 2002

 * Rates of marital aggression are considerably higher than civilian rates, double, three to five times. -The War At Home, 60 Minutes, January 17, 1999; Heyman and Neidig. (1999). A comparison of spousal aggression prevalence rates in U.S. Army and civilian representative samples. Journal of Consulting and Clinicial Psychology, 67 (2), 239-242; Gelles, Sixty Minutes Battered the Truth, OpEd, Washington Times, 1999; Rosen, Brennan, Martin, and Knudson. (August 2002).  Intimate Partner Violence and US Army Soldiers in Alaska, Military Medicine; The War At Home, 60 Minutes, September 1, 2002.

* Domestic violence homicides in the military community include:

     * Navy or Marine Corps: 12 in FY 99; 54 since FY 95

     * Army:  32 in FY 99; 131 since FY 95

     * Air Force:  4 in FY 99; 32 since FY95

-Initial Report of the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence, DoD, 2001

 * Recent estimates suggest that sexual assault in the military is experienced by 9 to 4 percent of female service members, depending upon the service branch. An earlier study conducted by the Defense Manpower Center indicated that 5 percent of female respondents and 1 percent of male respondents were victims of actual or attempted rape. -Department of Defense Sexual Harassment Survey, 1995

 * 8 percent of female Persian Gulf War veterans in a survey reported being sexually abused during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

 * 30 percent of female veterans in a recent survey reported rape or attempted rape during active duty.

 * 37 percent of women who reported a rape or attempted rape had been raped more than once; 14 percent of the victims reported having been gang raped.

* The number of cases treated at VA Sexual Trauma Centers include over 22,000 male victims and over 19,000 female victims of sexual trauma. -Veterans' Millennium Health Care Act, Preliminary Findings 

 * 3/4ths of the female veterans who were raped did not report the incident to a ranking officer.  1/3rd didn't know how to; and 1/5th believed that rape was to be expected in the military.  Women who served in Gulf War I were the only group that did not consider rape to be an expected part of military life.

Refusing to Kill