Why is violence cited less now in divorce proceedings?

Experts who have studied the reasons for divorce over the years have found an interesting trend: Domestic violence is cited in a far smaller percentage of divorce cases than it was in the past.

These findings are noted all over the world. For instance, in the Netherlands from about 1945 to 1975, domestic violence was listed in 54 percent of the cases. Today, that number has fallen to only 21 percent. Likewise, in some parts of the United States, reports are that it shows up in roughly 30 percent of the cases.

So, why has domestic violence been dropping? The answer may not be what you assume—that violence is happening less often. Some experts think the answer is actually that it wasn't as socially acceptable to get divorced for any other reason—such as feeling that you and your spouse just weren't compatible—in the past. Now that it is, more people are listing these other causes and there are more divorces based on them, so the percentage of domestic violence divorces has dropped, even if the raw numbers have stayed the same.

These experts do note that it is sometimes difficult to find out exactly why people are getting divorced, so hard stats are tough to come by. However, domestic violence itself is still common. For instance, 22 percent of women in the U.S. will experience it, according to some reports, as will 7.4 percent of men.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, it's important to act quickly, whether you are interested in an order of protection, a divorce or additional types of legal solutions.

Source: Love to Know, "Domestic Violence and Divorce: Interview with Dr. Katherine van Wormer," Jodee Redmond, accessed Oct. 12, 2015

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