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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

The Magnitude of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has many different definitions. Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as "any assault, battery, sexual assault, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit". However, for the purposes of this survey, respondents were given the following definition and asked to respond to the questions:

Domestic violence is defined as any physical act of violence by a man toward his wife or girlfriend.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the most common type of domestic violence is simple assault, which made up for 77.2% of the domestic violence offenses in 1995. Of those simple assault offenses, 75.9% of the victims were female while 24.1% were male. (Source:

Question 1
Do you think domestic violence is a widespread problem in our society?

Domestic Violence Widespread?
Number Percent
Yes 453 91.5%
No 42 8.5%
Total 495 100.0%

*Cases Not Applicable=7

More than 9 of every 10 Floridians (91.5%) believe that domestic violence is a widespread problem in our society.

91.5% say domestic violence is widespread and 8.5% say it is not

Question 2
What percentage of men do you think have ever physically abused their wives or girlfriends?

Percentage of Men Who Have Abused Wives or Girlfriends Respondents
Number Percent
0-10% 47 11.7%
11-20% 54 13.4%
21-30% 90 22.2%
31-40% 58 14.4%
41-50% 64 15.9%
51-60% 27 6.7%
61-70% 24 6.0%
71-80% 23 5.7%
81-90% 10 2.5%
91-100% 6 1.5%
Total 403 100.0%
*Cases Not Applicable=99

On average, people believe that 38.6% of men have ever physically abused their wives or girlfriends. Women are more likely to believe men abused their wives or girlfriends (42.5%) then men (32.9%).

Question 3
In what percentage of households in Florida do you believe domestic violence has occurred as we defined it?

The average citizen believes that domestic violence, as defined for the purpose of this survey, has occurred in 41.3% of households in Florida. Women are more likely to believe that it occurred in the households (46.0%) then men (34.6%).

Question 4
Over the last ten years, do you think the number of incidents of domestic violence in Florida has decreased a little, decreased a lot, stayed the same, increased a little or increased a lot?

10 Year Change in
Domestic Violence
Number Percent
Increased a lot 219


Increased a little 133


Stayed about the same 69


Decreased a little 23


Decreased a lot 4


Total 448


*Cases Not Applicable=54

The majority of respondents (78.6%) believe that over the past 10 years, the number of incidents of domestic violence in Florida has increased. Only 6.0% believe domestic violence has decreased over the past 10 years. Women felt that it has increased more (84.3%) then men (70.2%).

Pie chart showing numbers from above paragraph.

Florida Domestic Violence, 1992-1998

Year Total % Change Rate per
100,00 Population
1992 109,449   815.3
1993 112,585 2.9% 827.3
1994 119,930 6.5% 864.1
1995 131,152 9.4% 926.9
1996 132,704 1.2% 920.8
1997 136,382 2.8% 927.0
1998 133,345 -2.2% 888.9
(Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. (1992-1998). Crime in Florida, Florida Uniform Crime Report []. Tallahassee, FL: FDLE.)

Line graph showing statistics for paragraph below

According to official Domestic Violence crime statistics the public's perception is correct in that domestic violence crime has increased by 9.0%. Statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), from 1992 to 1998, show the domestic violence crime totals increased from 109,449 (815.3 per 100,000 population) to 133,345 (888.9 per 100,000 population).

The Florida's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence found that only about one-seventh of all domestic assaults come to the attention of the police (Florida Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Re-view Project, 1997, p.3).

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