Perpetrators of intimate partner violence use significantly more methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol than victims: a report by victims. Academic Article uri icon


  • Our objectives were (1) to determine demographic characteristics of intimate partner violence (IPV) victims and perpetrators, as reported by victims in a Victim Assistance Unit where police are called to the scene for IPV, and (2) to compare the relative risk of methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol use in perpetrators vs victims of IPV, as reported by victims.Data from a Victim Assistance Unit intake statistics for the months of January to November 2006 were accessed. For this system in a city of approximately 500,000 population, with a large Hispanic population, police call for an onsite advocate intervention (trained social worker) at their own discretion for the victim and for children involved. Data were collected from the homes visited by police for IPV calls based on victim report on victims, perpetrators, and children in the home and their involvement in IPV. Reports of drug use were self-reported by the victim only. Comparisons were made using chi(2) tests, relative risks (RRs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). P < .05 was considered statistically significant.Police and advocates visited 1712 homes for IPV calls; males were victims in 141 (8.2%) cases. Nine hundred ninety-seven (58.2%) victims were Hispanic. By victim report, perpetrators were significantly more likely to have witnessed IPV as a child than victims did (48.8% vs 34.3%; RR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.3-1.6). Of the 2266 children in these homes, 1800 (79.2%) witnessed IPV and 716 (31.6%) were victims themselves. By victim report, the perpetrators were significantly more likely to use methamphetamine (8.9% vs 0.8%; RR, 10.9; 95% CI, 6.4-18.8 ), cocaine (11.8% vs 0.7%; RR, 16.8), and alcohol (53.3% vs 12.9%; RR, 4.1; 95% CI, 3.6-4.7) than victims.By victim report, perpetrators were more likely to have witnessed IPV as children. By victim report, perpetrators were also more likely to use methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol and other drugs. Knowing this correlation may be important to the emergency department physician as screening for drug use, especially methamphetamine, as well as IPV may be useful to identify IPV-related injuries and provide proper referrals for IPV and drug use treatment.

publication date

  • June 2008