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Domestic Violence Report Details Obstacles For Victims

In Indiana, 42 percent of women say they have experienced some form of violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.  New data captures some of the challenges of prosecuting domestic violence cases.

The report from the Domestic Violence Network focuses on cases filed in Marion County. Executive director Kelly McBride says the data assessment is valuable.

"Domestic violence is really hard to catch statistics with," McBride says. "It’s one of the most underreported crimes."

That can be because of shame, stigma, financial reasons and family. The report finds nearly half of domestic violence cases were dismissed because of an unwillingness or inability to testify.

And, while more than 10,000 victims did file cases in 2016, McBride says domestic violence is still underreported.

"Things that aren’t accounted for are your financial abuse, the emotional abuse, that controlling behavior that defines domestic violence, that is not being counted here whatsoever," says McBride.

It also finds that when charges aren’t dismissed there is a 96 percent conviction rate.

McBride says this could give victims encouragement to come forward.

"A person will experience domestic violence, on average, about 30 incidents before they ever report to law enforcement," says McBride.

The data shows 83 percent of victims were female and more than a third of victims reported their attacker has access to a gun. The report finds housing is by far the most requested need.