New research: Most Californians think domestic abuse can happen to them
3 out 5 adults say a friend or family member has been a victim of domestic violence
February 5, 2013
A new survey reveals public opinion and the reality of domestic violence in California are aligned – "it can affect people like me and people I know well."
The survey also affirms the importance of programs to educate young people so they have the skills to support safe and healthy relationships as an effective solution to reduce domestic violence.
Blue Shield of California Foundation released a groundbreaking survey of Californians that reveals their attitudes about domestic violence. A strong majority believe domestic violence can happen to anyone – women, men, young or old, any race and income level – and that children exposed to such violence are at risk for severe emotional problems. This is consistent with research studies on victims of domestic violence.
"This survey affirms that Californians understand that domestic violence is not somebody else’s problem, it affects all of us. They understand the deep and lasting impact of domestic abuse on our families and communities," said Carolyn Wold, the director of the Solano County Office of Family Violence Prevention. "Solano County residents fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to live free of violence and this type of violence must be stopped and prevented."
Annually law enforcement agencies in Solano County receive about 2,000 calls for assistance and to investigate domestic violence crimes. In 2012, victim witness advocates from the Office of Family Violence Prevention provided services to more than 200 victims of domestic violence. In addition, nearly 1,500 applications for restraining orders were received by the Solano Superior Court.
The poll, conducted by Tulchin Research for the Blue Shield of California Foundation, surveyed 900 adults statewide on their beliefs and attitudes about domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October). This is the first known survey to explore attitudes and opinions of all Californians related to domestic violence and potential solutions.
Highlights from the poll include the following:
- 70 percent of Californians see domestic violence as an issue that affects “people like me” and “people I know well.”
- 66 percent report having a friend or family member who has been a victim of domestic violence.
- An overwhelming majority (97 percent) believe that children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to have mental health and anger management problems.
- Respondents rated educating young people as the most effective solution for reducing domestic violence, followed by ensuring our communities have adequate funding for domestic violence shelters (93%) and raising public awareness (93%).
- In terms of when to introduce domestic violence education to young people, more than 80 percent support teaching middle and high school students about healthy relationships to raise awareness on relationship violence or dating abuse.
"I was surprised at the large number of Californians who have been personally affected by domestic violence. That appears to be driving their strong belief that domestic violence is something that could happen to anyone and their overwhelming opinion that programs for reducing domestic violence are effective," said Ben Tulchin, President and Founder of Tulchin Research.
The great interest in prevention strategies and programs that educate students about healthy relationships also tracks closely with respondents’ perception that children’s exposure to domestic violence causes serious emotional problems and violence later in life.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence prevention advocates in Solano County will be providing outreach and education materials to schools and teen programs throughout the county. These materials include posters and pocket cards that provide information on safe and healthy relationships, how to recognize signs of an abusive relationship, and how to get help.
For more information about the various programs and services in Solano County to assist victims of domestic violence as well as to prevent incidents of domestic violence, go to www.solanocounty.com/stoptheviolence.
About the survey: From October 24 – 28, 2012, Tulchin Research conducted a random-digit-dial telephone survey among 900 adults in California at least 18 years of age or older using live, professional interviewers and conducting surveys in both English and Spanish and calling both landlines and cell phones. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.27 percentage points. Click here for more details from the polling.
About Blue Shield of California Foundation: Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest and most trusted grant-making organizations. Its mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly underserved populations, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.