Families on TANF in South Carolina: Employment Assets and Liabilities. Domestic Violence

10/01/2004

Female survey respondents were asked a series of questions about whether they had experienced physical abuse or threats in their romantic relationships.20
 
  • Nearly half of female respondents had experienced physical domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Combining both severe and moderate physical domestic violence, 47% of the female respondents had experienced any physical domestic violence in their lifetimes, including 20% in the last year.

  • 38% of female respondents had experienced severe physical domestic violence21 in their lifetimes, including 15% in the past year.
  • 45% of female respondents had experienced moderate physical domestic violence22 in their lifetimes, including 19% in the past year.
Overall, 43% of the respondents had experienced physical threats in a romantic relationship in their lifetimes, including 15% in the past year.23 About 30% of the female respondents had received coercive threats in a romantic relationship in their lifetimes, including 14% in the last year.24
 
  • Divorced or separated respondents were significantly more likely than never-married respondents to have experienced domestic violence.
About twice as many divorced or separated respondents had experienced severe physical domestic violence in their lifetimes, as had never-married respondents (61% v. 29%).25 In addition, 20% of divorced or separated respondents had experienced severe physical violence in the past year, compared to 13% of never-married respondents.
 
The most likely explanation for this pattern is that, for many divorced or separated respondents, domestic violence was a major factor in the termination of the relationship. Also, divorced or separated respondents were on average older than never-married respondents and therefore had more years in which domestic violence could occur. The surveys show, in fact, that 47% of the respondents aged 40 and older had experienced severe physical domestic violence in their lifetimes, compared to 28% of 18- 24 year- olds.
 
  • One in seven of the divorced or separated respondents said that their romantic relationships had been a barrier to employment or training in the past year.

Female respondents were asked the question: “During the past 12 months, was your relationship with a current or past husband, boyfriend, or partner ever such a problem that you could not take a job or had to stop working, or could not attend education or training activities?” Almost 9% answered yes to this question (data not shown). However, 14% of separated or divorced respondents answered yes, compared to only 7% of those never married.26


20 Overall, 1,082 or 98.4% of the female respondents agreed to answer this series of questions. The respondents were asked whether, in their current or past relationships, a husband, boyfriend, partner, or anyone with whom they had been in a romantic relationship had ever engaged in various types of violence or threats. The specific questions were based on a modified version of the Conflict Tactics Scale used in the University of Michigan’s Women’s Employment Study.
21Severe physical violence was defined as having been hit, beaten, choked, threatened with a weapon, or forced into sexual activity.
22 Moderate physical violence was defined as having been pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, kicked or bitten.
23Physical threats were defined as threatening to hit with a fist or object, or throwing anything that could harm.
24Coercive threats were defined as threatening to take children away, threatening to harm the individual or
friends, threatening to turn the mother into child protective services or the welfare agency, harassing at work or
school, or coercing into doing illegal things.
25 This difference was statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.
26 This difference was statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.

 

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