Violence is found to affect NH people more

CONCORD – Men and women in New Hampshire both report being victims of violence at rates higher than the national average, and sexual violence in the state affects mainly children, according to studies conducted by domestic violence researchers.

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire, the state’s Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the state Department of Health and Human Services collaborated to produce the reports, Violence Against Women in New Hampshire, released in 2007, and Violence Against Men in New Hampshire, released Tuesday.

Both reports are based on surveys that mimic a national violence survey conducted in the 1990s, coalition director Grace Mattern said. Researchers used a random number generator to call women, and then men, all around the state, and surveyed them on their own experience as victims of violence throughout their lives.

Researchers surveyed 508 women and 1,012 men, Mattern said. Because the prevalence of sexual violence is so much lower among men, a larger sample was needed to get valid results, she said. Because the survey is randomized, researchers draw conclusions about the whole state based on the responses, she said.

“It allows you to extrapolate the percentages you get to the overall population,” Mattern said.

The surveys show that men are more often victims of physical violence, women are more often victims of sexual violence, and that sexual assaults most often target children of both genders.

“As far as the sexual violence, they are equally disturbing and similar,” coalition spokeswoman Maureen McDonald said.

Specifically, the surveys findings include:

Nearly one in four women (22.7 percent) in New Hampshire have been sexually assaulted, and 41 percent of the assaults took place before the victim’s 18th birthday (83 percent involved women younger than 25).

Roughly one in 20 men have been sexually assaulted, but 68 percent of those assaults took place before the victim’s 18th birthday.

Nearly three-quarters of men (71 percent) report having been the victim of a physical assault at some time in their lives.

More than a third (35.6 percent) of women reported being the victim of a physical (but not sexual) assault, while another 17 percent reported both.

Nearly one in four men (24 percent) and about one in three women (33.4 percent) reported having been the victim of domestic violence.

The overall violence rates against both men and women were somewhat higher than those found in the national survey, Mattern said, but other states that have conducted similar statewide surveys all have found the same, higher rates.

Five other states have done their own surveys of violence against women, and just one other state has surveyed violence against men, she said. Researchers are looking into why the states might find higher rates, and also plan to release a combined report, reviewing the data for both men and women in New Hampshire.


New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence