Domestic violence has long had a home in the Silver State

During the first night of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence convention in Reno, some delegates were upset by a KOLO television news report that said a newly released study by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) showed Nevada first in the nation in domestic violence. The study’s figures were from 2005, which—the news report claimed—“raises some obvious questions about its accuracy,” presumably because the year-and-a-half old figures were stale.

Well, no, it doesn’t. Most national studies take a year or more to process statistics after they are reported or collected, which is usually well after the end of a year. (See, for example, “Nevada’s military spending” in Upfront, page 10.) In addition, the 2005 VPC figures are right in line with earlier studies.

Nevada has a history dating back decades that shows a high domestic violence rate. Nevada was first in the nation for such crimes in 1996 and 1999, second in 1997 and 2003, third in 2001, fourth in 2002, fifth in 2004, eighth in 1998, ninth in 2000. If the study had shown a break in that pattern of high rankings, that would have raised some obvious questions about its accuracy.

Similar results are reported by other organizations. In addition, Nevada has a high rate of other crimes against women, such as rape and stalking. Children don’t do much better—one study shows that in most cases of domestic violence, children are present to see it. See main story for information on the consequences of that.