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Domestic Violence: Summary & Data Highlights

South Region cities had the highest 5-year average (2007-2011) rate of domestic violence simple assault (the most commonly reported type of domestic violence in King County).

Violence in the home kills, injures, and is a major cause of homelessness among women and children. Witnessing and experiencing family violence increases the likelihood that children will themselves become abusers or victims as adults.

Data from city police departments in each region were combined to compute regional city rates of domestic violence crimes.  A rate for all unincorporated areas of the county is shown separately, and is included in the King County rate.

Washington State law defines domestic violence (DV) as “physical harm, bodily injury, assault, the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking” by family or household members.  It includes intimate partner violence, abuse of children, and property crimes against related and unrelated people who live together.

59% of King County’s 10,157 domestic violence offenses reported in 2011 were simple assaults (attacks without a weapon and not resulting in serious injury).

  • The 2007-2011 average rate of DV simple assaults for King County was 309.4 per 100,000 population.
  • South Region cities had the highest 5-year average (2007-2011) rate of DV simple assault.
  • King County’s rate of DV simple assaults fell in the 2004-2011 period, as did the rates in Seattle, South Region cities, and unincorporated areas. 

23% of reported domestic violence offenses (2,361) in 2011 were violations of protection orders (including court-ordered no-contact, protection, restraining, and anti-harassment orders that involve domestic violence).

  • The 2007-2011 average rate of DV violation of protection orders for King County was 121.1 per 100,000 population.
  • 5-year (2007-2011) average rates of violation of protection orders were highest in South Region cities (206.3 per 100,000) and lowest in East Region cities (70.8 per 100,000).
  • Between 2004 and 2011, reported violations of protection orders declined in King County, Seattle, South Region cities, and unincorporated areas. Rates in East and North Region cities did not change during this period.

12% of reported domestic violence offenses in 2011 were considered ‘major domestic violence,’ including 8 murders, 71 forcible rapes, 46 robberies, and 1,117 aggravated assaults (attacks involving a weapon capable of causing serious injury).

  • King County’s 5-year (2007-2011) average rate of major domestic violence crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) was 59.4 per 100,000 population.
  • Seattle had the highest 2007-2011 average rate of major domestic violence crime (81.2 per 100,000) and East Region cities had the lowest rate (22.6 per 100,000). 
  • From 2004 to 2011, the rate of major domestic violence crimes declined in East Region cities, but did not change in King County overall.
  • In 2011, more than 1 in 5 murders committed in King County were domestic violence murders.

6% of 2011 domestic violence reports were classified as property crime (burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson).

Because much child abuse is not reported, rates of domestic violence crimes against children are difficult to estimate.

  • In 2012, Child Protective Services accepted referrals for investigation involving 9,562 King County children from birth to age 17. This represented 2.4% of all children in King County. 
  • The rate of accepted referrals for children by age and overall has not changed in the last 13 years.

"When me and my daughter was kicked out of the house by my husband, my daughter was only 2 and a half months old, yet he kicked us both out of the house. Here, I don’t have family, siblings, or any one…I only had my husband, so when I was kicked out, I was lost, dumbfounded."
Recent immigrant mother with limited English proficiency, living in domestic violence emergency shelter that she found through Refugee Women’s Alliance