This was a quantitative, ecological, exploratory study using spatial analysis and a geographic information system. The population consisted of all the women that had filed complaints against domestic violence in the city of João Pessoa, Paraíba State, Brazil, from 2002 to 2005, at the Specialized Police Precinct for Women. The aim was to investigate the spatial distribution of domestic violence in order to assist policymakers in the decision-making process. Analysis of the results allowed identifying areas of low and high incidence of domestic violence, besides comparing the risk in each neighborhood to the overall rate for the city of João Pessoa. Based on the Getis and Ord index, the study produced a decision on priority areas for intervening in domestic violence. The authors highlight the need for changes in care for female victims of violence and the link among institutions with permanent education in the services, including discussions on gender and violence against women.