Prevalence rates of intimate partner violence are notoriously difficult to assess. Because there is no strong consensus on its definition, nor its major typologies, different efforts to measure it use different questions, resulting in different estimates of prevalence. An assessment focusing on the victim’s subjective experience, for example, may include questions like whether a partner has ever “acted very angry towards you in a way that seemed dangerous”, while an assessment from a criminal justice perspective focuses more on actual, physical violence or explicit threats of violence that would constitute a criminal act regardless of relationship between victim and assailant. Even within specific approaches to the concept of intimate partner violence, there has been no consistent measurement instrument over time, whether due to improved understanding of the complex phenomenon of IPV and its antecedents and consequences, or more prosaic concerns like a more stringent budget leading to a trimmed down assessment tool.
National surveys provide estimates ranging from about 22% to 38% of women.
An alternative method of measuring this, admittedly with its own shortcomings, is to study the number of civil protection orders filed due to domestic violence. This, of course, is a fundamentally different from how often violence actually occurs: To get to this point, a victim must either come forward of her/his own volition and file it on their own (a daunting process in many municipalities) or it may be an automatic process started if the perpetrator is charged with a serious enough crime. From 2010 through 2017, an average of over 18,000 new civil protection orders have been filed each year in Ohio as a result of domestic violence.
Below, you can explore the number of new civil protection orders filed in domestic court in each county, for each year of 2010-2017.