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Domestic Violence in Marion County

By Sharon Kandris, Director, SAVI Community Information System

Given the recent high-profile domestic violence cases in the news this month, it is very timely to recognize the importance of organizations like the Domestic Violence Network that work to end domestic violence through education and advocacy.  To that end, The Polis Center recently partnered with Domestic Violence Network (DVN) to analyze data from the criminal justice system to gain a better understanding of the state of domestic violence in the county.  DVN released the report today.

Below are a few highlights of the findings from this report.  I focus on demographics of victims and perpetrators here, but the report provides data on many other aspects of domestic violence.

1. In 2011, there were an estimated 10,687 victims of domestic violence (1.5% of the population) and 9,962 perpetrators involved in the criminal justice system.

It is important to note this is not a complete count of domestic violence victims; it is a count based only on data about those that are involved in the criminal justice system – an important distinction.  Preliminary data suggests the 2012 counts will be closer to the 2010 numbers (13,748 victims and 10,605 perpetrators).

 2. Victims are predominantly females aged 20 to 24, and victims are predominantly males aged 25 to 29.

The age pyramids below shows the number of males verses females in each 5-year age increment. Compared to the age and gender distribution of victims and perpetrators for the county, the population involved in domestic violence is much younger. 79% of victims are females, and 80% of perpetrators are males.

age pyramid

3. African Americans are disproportionately represented among domestic violence victims and perpetrators. 

African Americans make up 27% of the general population but 45% of domestic violence victims and 47% of perpetrators. Caucasians make up 63% of the general population but only 51% of domestic violence victims and 44% of perpetrators. The charts below compare the racial composition of domestic violence victims and perpetrators to the racial composition of the general population.


4. Domestic violence rates are highest in Center, Wayne, and Decatur Townships – and in low-income neighborhoods.

savi extra

Using SAVI, we created at a more detailed map showing that low-income neighborhoods have a higher reported incidence of domestic violence than middle- and upper-income areas. The red areas on the map below highlight the low-income census tracts. The tracts with the darker shades of blue are areas with higher domestic violence rates, which closely align with the low-income areas.

map5. There is so much more in the report about domestic violence in Marion County.

Here’s what else you can learn from the report:

  • How has domestic violence changed over time?
  • What are the legal outcomes of domestic violence cases – such as how many cases result in charges and how many cases are dismissed?
  • How many charges against perpetrators are felonies vs. misdemeanors?
  • How many people are filing for protective orders and what are their demographics?
  • Have domestic violence perpetrators been convicted of other crimes?
  • How many victims, perpetrators, and victim-perpetrator pairs have been involved in repeat incidents of domestic violence?

You can access the full report here.


Data Sources:

The analysis looks at victims and perpetrators across four data sources: The Julian Center, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, and Indiana Supreme Court.


Our takeaways from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) Conference

By Jay Colbert, GIS Project Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

“Are there SAVIs in other cities?” is a question that I get occasionally, and the answer is certainly yes. Many community and neighborhood organizations are part of a netowrk called the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP). NNIP is a collaboration of the Urban Institute and local partners in 35 cities to further the development and use of neighborhood-level information systems for community building and local decision-making.  Not all partners have a robust community information system like SAVI, but they are all committed to the electronic dissemination of neighborhood-level information for improved decision-making.

NNIP hosts meetings twice a year in rotating partner cities to strengthen the peer learning network and advance the agenda of the network.  Earlier this month I attended the spring meeting that was held in St. Louis, Mo.  Here is a map of the current partner cities.


Here are some takeaways from NNIP in general and the St Louis meeting in particular.

The Unconference format is a great way to go

If you are planning a large meeting or small conference, consider the “Unconference” or “Camp” format.  In this type of conference, attendees set the agenda by proposing session topics and then attendees are free to choose which sessions to attend and even come and go until they find the right session.

Lots of technology

NNIP partners use a myriad of technology solutions.  The partners come from many different types of organizations such as universities (like us), governmental agencies, foundations, and standalone nonprofits.  It’s a hotbed of activity for open-source software with many partners utilizing and sharing their successes during the gathering.

We learned about “Rebound Neighborhoods”

I’m always harping on people to put their data into context.  One way of doing that is to make a time series chart and then compare to other neighborhoods.  People in St. Louis crafted an index of commonly used socio-economic variables by decade from 1980-2010 and then identified those that have improved, or rebounded.  Their next step is to identify some factors that might be leading to these rebounds.

Many cities are working on Integrated Data Systems (IDS)

An IDS takes data from many different administrative sources and combines them in a way to allow tracking of individuals and their outcomes.  For example, children’s standardized test scores can be matched with their Medicaid status, allowing for research into social determinants of educational success.

Strategic Communications are important

Increasingly, NNIP partners are embracing social media and increasing efforts to work with journalists and attract publicity.  Partner cities spend vast amounts of time on data acquisition and analysis, but we also need to be just as good and tireless at sharing that work with the largest audience possible.

Keep an eye out in October for another blog covering takeaways from the NNIP meeting in Denver.

Why do community assessment?

Demetrius Glover PicBy Demetrius Glover,  Director of Research and Information Resources, United Way of Central Indiana


Data analysis can dispel conventional wisdom and popular notions concerning community issues.

It is important to do community assessments to understand your community through data in order to determine the needs of your target population, the resources available to them and the gaps in the delivery of services.

Clear goals, aligned strategy, and meaningful measurement remain essential to increase the return on investment of staff, financial, and volunteer resources in order to “Move the needle” in our community.

A well done community assessment can allow you to make data informed decisions so that you can strategically invest resources and measure success.

Please join us on April 16th from 1 pm to 3 pm for an informative workshop on using SAVI to do community assessments.  This workshop will employ lessons learned from our 2008 United Way Community Assessment, 2013 Hancock County Assessment, 2013 Hunger Assessment in Hancock County, and ongoing assessment efforts.

For more information go to 4 and register for SAVI level 4: Topic-Based Workshops – Community Assessments: Getting the BIG PICTURE and little picture with Data.

2014 Governor’s Conference on Service & Nonprofit Capacity Building

Mark your calendar and plan to join us Oct. 1-2 at IUPUI Campus Center for 2014 Governor’s Conference.

savedate Gov Confvfinal 240KB



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