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Domestic violence shelters throughout the United States report the economy continues to significantly affect women-with domestic violence increasing for the third straight year and government cutbacks decreasing shelters' ability to help survivors. In addition to domestic violence incidents growing and funding sources diminishing, the abuse is reportedly more severe, victims are struggling to find jobs and shelters expect the situation will only get worse in light of the economy -- according to the third "Mary Kay Truth About Abuse" national survey.
The last survey conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) reveals telling information about domestic violence services in the U.S. On September 15, 2010 - one 24-hour period - domestic violence victim advocates served more than 70,000 adults and children and answered more than 20,000 emergency hotline calls. During the same 24 hours, more than 9,000 requests for services went unmet, largely due to lack of funding.
Though the economy does not cause domestic violence, factors associated with economic uncertainties can increase the severity and frequency of abuse. At the same time, options for survivors to escape can be more limited. More than 80% of local domestic violence programs reported an increased demand for their services while nearly the same number reported decreases in funding.
"The economy is exacerbating domestic violence, and victim advocates across the country are struggling to do more with less," said Sue Else, president of NNEDV. "Despite the immense challenges, local programs are providing life-saving services to so many survivors of domestic and sexual violence."
Each year, NNEDV conducts a 24-hour survey of local domestic violence programs. In addition to the number of victims served, more than 30,000 individuals attended 1,240 training sessions provided by local domestic violence programs to help prevent violence.
Across the nation on September 15, 2010, three women were murdered by their intimate partners. Thirty-six babies were born to mothers living in domestic violence shelters. Three-hundred-ninety-one survivors started new jobs. Three men committed suicide - one after murdering his wife, another after a failed attempt to kill his girlfriend, and the third after holding his partner hostage and a standoff with the police.
In 2010, 1,747 local domestic violence programs, or 91%, submitted their 24-hour counts for September 15. The full National Domestic Violence Counts 2010 are available online at http://www.nnedv.org/census.
Ninety-one percent of identified DV programs in the United States participated in the one-day Census which represents an unduplicated count of adults and children seeking domestic violence services in the U.S., documenting the number of individuals who sought services, the types of services requested, the number of service requests that went unmet because of lack of resources, and the issues and barriers that domestic violence programs are facing as they strive to provide services to victims of domestic violence.