New Research: Most Californians Think Domestic Abuse Can Happen to Them

Two-thirds of Adults in California Know Someone Close to Them Who Has Been a Victim of Domestic Violence

San Francisco, November 9, 2012 – Today, Blue Shield of California Foundation released a groundbreaking survey of Californians that reveals their attitudes about domestic violence. A strong majority of Californians believe domestic violence can happen to anyone – women, men, young or old, any race and income level – and that children exposed to such violence are at-risk for severe emotional problems.  This is consistent with research studies on victims of domestic violence.

The poll, conducted by Tulchin Research for the Blue Shield of California Foundation, surveyed 900 adults statewide on their beliefs and attitudes about domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October). This is the first known survey to explore attitudes and opinions of all Californians related to domestic violence and potential solutions.

Highlights from the poll include the following:

• 70 percent of Californians see domestic violence as an issue that affects “people like me” and “people I know well.”
• 66 percent report having a friend or family member who has been a victim of domestic violence.
• An overwhelming majority (97 percent) believe that children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to have mental health and anger management problems.
• Respondents rated educating young people as the most effective solution for reducing domestic violence, followed by ensuring our communities have adequate funding for domestic violence shelters (93%) and raising public awareness (93%).
• In terms of when to introduce domestic violence education to young people, more than 80 percent support teaching middle and high school students about healthy relationships to raise awareness on relationship violence or dating abuse.

“I was surprised at the large number of Californians who have been personally affected by domestic violence. That appears to be driving their strong belief that domestic violence is something that could happen to anyone and their overwhelming opinion that programs for reducing domestic violence are effective,” said Ben Tulchin, President and Founder of Tulchin Research.

“It is particularly impressive to find such unanimity in our polarized political environment, as Californians of all ages, gender, ethnicities, and ideologies agree that domestic violence is a problem that can affect them and that solutions are effective,” added Tulchin.

The strong interest in educating students about relationship and dating violence tracks closely to the respondents’ perception that children’s exposure to domestic violence causes serious emotional problems.
“From a public health perspective, domestic violence is reaching epidemic proportions,” Peter Long, Ph.D., President and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation.

 “Californians understand all too personally that violence in the home is a serious problem, but they are not cynical,” he added. “If we take their cue and protect victims when they are most vulnerable while also preparing young people to maintain healthy relationships, we can end domestic violence in California.”

For more details from the polling, see here.

About the survey: From October 24 – 28, 2012, Tulchin Research conducted a random-digit-dial telephone survey among 900 adults in California at least 18 years of age or older using live, professional interviewers and conducting surveys in both English and Spanish and calling both landlines and cell phones. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.27 percentage points.

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly underserved populations, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information visit:


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