Impact of the Economy on Domestic Violence

In recent years, one of the most frequently asked question about domestic violence has become “How does the economy affect domestic violence?”  

While economic woes like recession and unemployment do not cause domestic violence, they do commonly exacerbate it and contribute to increases in frequency and severity.

“The ripple effect of an economic crisis touches each and every American. This is particularly true for victims of domestic violence who are seeking help to rebuild lives that have been shattered by an abuser,” said Sue Else, President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, in a statement released in 2008. “At a time when more and more victims are reaching out for support and services, domestic violence programs throughout the country are struggling to meet the increasing requests for help.”

(Information provided by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, www.nnedv.org.)

Did You Know?

• Domestic violence is more than three times as likely to occur when couples are experiencing high levels of financial strain as when they are experiencing low levels of financial strain.

• Women whose male partners experienced two or more periods of unemployment over a 5-year study were almost three times as likely to be victims of intimate violence as were women whose partners were in stable jobs.

• Seventy-three percent of shelters attributed the rise in abuse to “financial issues.” “Stress” and “job loss” (61% and 49%, respectively) were also frequently cited as causing the increase in victims seeking shelter.

• Three out of four domestic violence shelters report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse since September 2008.

• The region with the largest reported increase in women seeking help as a result of domestic violence was the South (78%) followed by the Midwest (74%), the Northeast (72%), and the West (71%).

These circumstances create an increase in demand for services, just as emergency domestic violence service providers are struggling with fewer resources. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 92% of victim service providers have seen an increased demand in the last year, but 84% reported that cutbacks in funding were directly affecting their work.

What’s Going on Locally? 

Hubbard House, the domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties, has seen an increase in the demand for services. In the 2010-2011 fiscal year Hubbard House provided shelter for 1,030 victims of domestic violence compared to 892 in 2008-2009 (a 15% increase).

In addition, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has also reported more incidences of domestic violence. Domestic violence police reports in 2009 were 10% higher than in 2008 and, though the number reported went down slightly last year, the amount of incidences reported were still 9% higher in 2010 than in 2008.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE

Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

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