Domestic violence is a worldwide issue affecting women and men in every corner of the globe. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women will experience physical and/or sexual abuse by a partner in their lifetime.[1]  Closer to home in the United States 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[2]

California sees higher rates than the national average with 32.9 percent of women and 27.3 percent of men experiencing intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.[3]  And while the abuse may not happen to everyone, with statistics like this you’re likely to know someone that has a firsthand understanding of how it impacts a person’s life.

The numbers are shocking, but they don’t lie. Domestic violence persists as a worldwide crisis that demands our attention. The more aware we are of the issue, the more we can do to prevent and end abuse globally… and it starts in your own neighborhood.

Domestic Violence Statistics World U.S. California

Domestic Violence in Southern California

As a San Diego based company we understand very well how domestic violence impacts our area and our goal it to raise awareness in the community with a deeper look at domestic violence in the 10 Southern California counties.

The California Department of Justice[4] releases data on domestic violence incidents reported to police dating back the last 10 years. While 2018 numbers have not yet been released, here is how SoCal counties have historically ranked.

An average reports of domestic violence in Southern California increased 14.1% over the last 10 years. When isolating changes from just the last year, average number of reports increased 6.9% in Southern California. While this is an overall average, when breaking down the statistics by county, clear trends emerge on progress and regression.

Domestic Violences Rates Southern California

Domestic Violence in Southern California, by County

Los Angeles county, the most populated county in California, came in number one with the most domestic violence incidents reported to police. More alarming however, are the increases in incidents over the 10 years and the increases more recently from 2016 to 2017. Rising figures show us that domestic violence isn’t going away and in some areas it’s getting worse.

The number of reported domestic violence in SoCal in 2017

  1. Los Angeles 42,702
  2. San Diego 17,306
  3. San Bernardino 12,021
  4. Orange 8,452
  5. Riverside 7,306
  6. Ventura 7,137
  7. Kern 6,803
  8. Santa Barbara 1,758
  9. Imperial 1,198
  10. San Luis Obispo 602

Domestic Violence trends over the last 10 years

In the last 10 years (2008 to 2017), some counties have seen a reduction in incidents, while others have seen drastic increases.

Counties that saw the most drastic increases in domestic violence:

  1. Kern County 67.3%
  2. San Bernardino County 58.6%
  3. Santa Barbara County 45.5%

Counties that saw the greatest decreases in domestic violence reports:

  1. Orange County -20.9%
  2. Imperial County -14.5%
  3. Ventura County -2.1%

Domestic Violence trends in the last year

Looking at changes from just the last year (2016 to 2017), reveals similarities and differences in the number of incidents. Although Imperial County saw a 14.5 percent decrease in the last 10 years, from 2016 to 2017 the amount of domestic violence reports actually increased by 8.2 percent.

Counties with the highest increase in reported domestic violence incidents:

  1. Kern County 46.1%
  2. Santa Barbara County 14.3%
  3. San Bernardino County and Imperial County 8.2%

Counties with the greatest decrease in reported domestic violence incidents:

  1. Ventura County -5.5%
  2. San Luis Obispo -3.8%
  3. Orange County -3.3%

When looking at changes over the last 10 years we are able to see very interesting insights that beg for crucial conversation around domestic violence in Southern California.

What happened in Kern County for such drastic increases to occur? What has been happening in SoCal over the last 10 years that is causing the uptick? And why are the percent increases so much greater than the percent decreases?

While we don’t have all the answers, we do know there is a long way to go in eliminating relationship abuse in our communities, and each of us can do our part. Efforts such as domestic violence training for professionals and employers, educating young people on recognizing abusive situations before they escalate, and supporting organizations that exist to end abuse and support survivors of domestic violence are some of the best ways to get involved.

There is much more to be done to counter the growing domestic violence crisis. And it can start right here in Southern California.