Nearly 66,000 Domestic Violence Victims Helped On a Single Day, But Almost 10,000 Requests for Help Go Unanswered
Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released a new research report that found, in a single 24-hour period, more than 66,000 victims of domestic violence received help and support from service organizations in the United States, yet nearly 10,000 more who needed assistance could not be helped due to a lack of adequate resources.
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a member of the NNEDV. In Rhode Island, 284 victims received services in that 24-hour period, but 223 could not be helped because local programs here in Rhode Island didn't have sufficient resources.
"The Census research shows that there is still a strong need for the funding of programs and services that are vital for victims of domestic violence; when they take that courageous step to leave an abusive relationship or seek services, we should be able to address their needs. We have the ability to help them obtain safety from abusive and dangerous situations, but we need resources," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The report, "Domestic Violence Counts 2013: A 24-hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services," examined a random day, September 17, 2013, and collected information from 1649 domestic violence programs throughout the United States from midnight to midnight on that day. It identifies needs that were met and unmet on that day and provides a snapshot of how budget cuts are affecting the staffing and resources of these organizations.
Key findings for Rhode Island include this 24-hour data from September 17, 2013:
- 284 domestic violence victims and their children received services in just one day
- 108 calls to domestic violence hotlines were answered.
- 40 individuals were educated on domestic violence during trainings conducted by local programs.
- 223 requests from domestic violence victims were turned down because programs did not have the resources to provide them, including requests for emergency shelter, housing, transportation, childcare and legal representation.
- The majority of unmet requests were from victims who had chosen to flee their abusers, and were seeking safe emergency or transitional housing.
"Every day in this country, victims of domestic violence are bravely reaching out for help, and it's essential that they have somewhere safe to go," said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the NNEDV. "We have made so much progress toward ending violence and giving survivors avenues for safety. But continued program cuts jeopardize that progress and jeopardize the lives of victims."
When nationwide program providers were asked what most likely happens when services are not available, 60% said the most likely outcome was that victims returned to their abusers, 27% said the victims become homeless, and 11% said that victims end up living in their cars.
The research also shows initial impacts of the new guidelines in the Affordable Care Act, which require healthcare providers to screen patients for domestic violence and refer victims to services. Data collected for this study shows that since these guidelines have been in effect, there has been an 18.5% increase in referrals received nationwide by domestic violence programs, a number that experts predict will only increase as the ACA takes full effect.
The number of unmet needs is related to the financial resources of these programs. In 2013, 1,696 staff positions were cut due to funding reductions, an average of 1.2 staff per program. Of the staff that were cut in 2013, 70 percent were direct service positions, such as case managers, advocates, shelter staff, and child advocates.
"We are hopeful that these results will show the extreme importance of continued funding and the need for the reduction of further budget cuts. Domestic violence is a public health issue that is devastating communities. Victims are increasingly seeking services from our member agencies (10,000 in 2013), and we cannot afford to turn them away," added DeBare.
Download the full "Domestic Violence Counts 2013" census report at www.nnedv.org/census.
About the RICADV: The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. The RICADV was formed in 1979 to support and assist the six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. The organization also provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.
The RICADV's member agencies provide a wide array of services for victims – including 24 hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.
About NNEDV: The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a 501(c)(3) social change organization, is dedicated to creating a social, political and economic environment in which domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking no longer exist. As the leading voice for domestic violence victims and their allies, NNEDV members include all 56 of the state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, including over 2,000 local programs. NNEDV has been a premiere national organization advancing the movement against domestic violence for almost 25 years, having led efforts among domestic violence advocates and survivors in urging Congress to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit www.nnedv.org.