California Domestic Violence Statistics

Last Modified: May 3, 2024
January 27, 2023 | Rabin Nabizadeh | Domestic Violence

California domestic violence statistics
Sadly, domestic abuse, domestic violence, and intimate partner violence are far more common than many realize. These were issues swept under the rug under the guise of someone’s personal, private relationships. It is good news that more attention is being paid to domestic violence, but it is also apparent that it is far more common than many would like to admit.

Unfortunately, California has issues with domestic violence, but everyone needs to remember that they are not alone. Significant penalties can stem from a conviction under California domestic violence statutes, which is why everyone needs to reach out to domestic violence hotlines for help.

It includes reviewing some educational materials related to California domestic violence statistics. What do you need to know about California domestic violence crimes, and what should you do if you need help?

Understanding Domestic Violence Crimes in California

Understanding domestic violence crime

It is essential to understand what is considered domestic violence or abusive partner violence in California. Different domestic violence cases may involve physical abuse, while others may involve emotional abuse. There are even situations where domestic violence crimes can involve sexual abuse or financial abuse.

Domestic violence crimes can be charged in different ways depending on the nature of the situation. Using different statutes and domestic violence could be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. It is also possible that authorities will consider the individual’s criminal record.

Furthermore, the penalties can be particularly severe if someone gets convicted of domestic violence in California. There are even situations where someone could be sentenced to multiple years. To ensure your rights are protected, it is essential to understand some basic information about domestic violence crimes in California.

California Statutes Related To Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse

Generally, you can use two separate California statutes to charge domestic violence. The first is Penal Code 273.5. It is a crime to inflict bodily injury on a current or former partner willfully. In California, physical injury is typically called corporal injury. Three conditions must be met for someone to get charged using this code. These three are the following:

  • The accused person must have willfully inflicted a physical injury on someone else.
  • The person receiving the injury must have been a current or former intimate partner.
  • The bodily injury must have led to a diagnosable traumatic condition.

This penal code is not used to cover a mental or psychological injury.

The other commonly used statute is 243e1, which targets domestic batteries. It is a statute that makes it a crime to inflict a physical injury on an intimate partner intentionally. Unlike the other penal code, this criminal statute can only be charged as a misdemeanor and does not require the victim to have a visible injury. Therefore, the penalties for this penal code are less severe. You must prove the other person’s intent to achieve a conviction under this statute.

The Legal Penalties for Domestic Violence in California

Legal penalties for domestic violence

There are significant penalties for domestic violence in California. For example, under Penal Code 273.5, several significant penalties could be levied. If an individual gets convicted of a misdemeanor, the penalties could include the following:

  • Up to one year in jail;
  • A fine of $6,000; and
  • Up to three years of probation.

If the individual gets convicted of a felony, the penalties could be even more severe. For example, the individual could be sentenced to 4 years in prison, or he could be sentenced to 5 years of probation.

If someone gets convicted of domestic battery under 243e1, the penalties could include the following:

  • Up to a year in county jail;
  • Up to $2,000 in fines; and
  • Up to three years of probation.

Because the penalties can be significant, everyone must reach out to a lawyer who can review their case and ensure their voice is heard. Remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

The State of Domestic Violence Incidents in the State

Because domestic violence comes in many shapes and forms, it is vital to take a closer look at how it unfolds in California. Some of the most important statistics to keep in mind include the following:

A Year-by-Year Review of Reported Domestic Violence in California

  • Statistics have indicated that between 2016 and 2018, domestic violence cases increased by more than 42 percent
  • Another report stated that, during the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence cases increased between 25 and 33 percent
  • The trends likely mirror those in California, as in 2018, there were more than 166,000 domestic violence calls to law enforcement, and many others probably went unreported. 
  • In 2018, domestic violence homicides made up about 1 in 10 homicides that took place in California.
  • In a single day in 2019, domestic violence shelters in California served more than 5,600 adults, with more than 1,200 having unmet needs because they did not have enough resources. 

Statistical Facts About Domestic Violence in California

  • Approximately one-third of all women and one-quarter of all men have experienced physical violence inflicted on them by another partner in some way, shape, or form. 
  • On average, a local domestic violence hotline receives approximately 19,000 phone calls.
  • Domestic violence accounts for roughly 20% of all violent crimes in California.
  • Abusers with access to firearms increase the likelihood of intimate partner violence approximately five-fold. 
  • At the end of 2019, California had submitted about 12,500 misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence cases. 
  • A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that intimate partner homicides occur in 1 out of 5 domestic violence victims.

Comparing California’s Domestic Violence Cases to the Nation’s

When comparing domestic violence cases in California with the rest of the country, it is clear that California has records that are higher than the national average. For example, according to one resource, approximately 30 percent of women in the United States and 10 percent of men have experienced domestic violence in some way, and California’s rates are higher.

As alluded to above, approximately 33% of women and 25% of men have experienced domestic violence. It means that California has higher rates of domestic violence when compared to the national average.

Different Types of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence comes in many shapes and forms. Some of the most common forms of domestic violence include:

Physical Violence

Physical violence

Severe physical violence is one of the most common examples of domestic violence. Physical abuse can include punching, slapping, or hitting someone else. It can also involve fighting or choking someone else.

Physical abuse often leads to injuries, but many abusive partners go to extreme lengths to hide their abuse’s impacts on someone else. Scars and bruises may fade over time, but physical abuse can lead to mental health issues that can persist for years.


Sexual Violence

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual violence are different names for specific types of domestic violence. Sexual violence involves forcing someone to engage in sexual activity against their will.

For example, sexual violence may involve forcing someone to perform oral sex that is not wanted. Sexual violence can also include moving someone to engage in anal or vaginal intercourse without permission. Sexual violence can also go against someone’s sexual orientation.


Isolation and Control

Isolation and control

Isolation and control are common side effects of domestic violence. Someone abusing someone else does not want that person to report their situation to the authorities. Therefore, they may try to isolate that person from their family members and friends to limit the number of people who know about the situation.

They may also try to strip someone of their identification and financial resources to force them to remain at home. By pushing the victim to depend on the abuser, more barriers exist to the abuse reported.


Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is another common form of domestic violence. Even though verbal abuse might not leave any physical scars, it can lead to significant psychological trauma. For example, verbal abuse can include a consistent stream of criticism, demeaning language, and loud shouts to browbeat someone into submission.




Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse and psychological abuse are also common forms of domestic violence. One of the most common examples of emotional abuse is gaslighting. It refers to dismissing someone’s perspective or trying to blame someone’s point of view on pre-existing mental health issues.

Gaslighting can also involve blaming the victim for the behavior of the abuser. Emotional abuse can lead to significant mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, that can persist for years.




Domestic violence can also involve stalking. An intimate partner can engage in stalking even if they live with the person they are following. Stalking involves pursuing or following someone without their permission. It can also escalate to harassing or persecuting someone as they go from place to place.

Stalking can cause someone to look over their shoulder continuously, leading to significant mental health issues. This behavior can cause someone to develop continuous depression or anxiety. Stalking can also be another side effect of domestic abuse.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Domestic Violence Lawyer

Schedule a free consultation with our domestic violence lawyer

The consequences can be severe if you get accused of domestic violence. Even an accusation of domestic violence, let alone formal charges, can cause your life to turn upside down. You need to make sure that your voice is heard, and that is where we can help you.

At Summit Defense, we would be pleased to provide you with a case consultation. We have unparalleled experience dealing with domestic violence cases, and we can ensure that the facts are considered and that your rights are protected. We are ready to listen to your case without judgment or reservation, so contact us today to speak to a team member. Let us provide you with a case consultation.

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