Intimate partner violence against women is far too common and takes many forms, but the most serious is homicide committed by an intimate partner. In 2012, according to the Violence Policy Center’s annual report, 1,700 women in the U.S. were murdered by men, and over ninety percent of the victims were killed by someone they knew. This year’s report, which concerns cases involving one female victim and one male offender, applies to 2012 because it is the most recent for which data is available.

The report’s release this week marks the twentieth anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, which became law on September 13, 1994. Next month is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Some of the study’s key findings include:

  • In America, more than four women are murdered every day by men. “Nationwide, 1,706 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2012, at a rate of 1.16 per 100,000.”
  • The vast majority of victims were murdered by someone they knew, and most often an intimate partner. “When circumstances could be identified, 93 percent of women were killed by someone they knew. Of this group, 62 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends.”
  • The most common weapon used to murder women is a gun. “Firearms—especially handguns—were the weapons most commonly used by men to murder women. When the weapon could be identified, 52 percent of female victims were shot and killed with a gun. Of the homicides committed with guns, 69 percent were killed with handguns.”
  • The vast majority of these murders were unrelated to any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery. “When the relationship of the victim to the offender could be identified, 85 percent of the homicides were not related to the commission of another felony. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument.”
  • Black women face a disproportionate share of fatal domestic violence. “In 2012, the rate of black women murdered by men was 2.46 per 100,000. The rate for white females was 1.00 per 100,000.”