Do the problems with our economy have any effect on the increasing number of domestic violence reportings? Money problems are always a risk factor in relationships. Due to the downfall of job losses, the falling of the financial markets, and foreclosed homes, there has been more tension in homes. As a result, organizations that deal with domestic violence and substance abuse are bracing for more demand for their services, even as the recession is forcing some to cut budgets and lay off their own personnel. Although an economic downturn itself does not cause domestic violence, it can increase the factors that contribute to domestic violence and reduce victim's ability to leave. (Kalson, 2008). According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence 24-hour census, “the economic climate may give batterers additional leverage when using emotional and financial abuse to control their partners” (Feb. 2009). Domestic abuse occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence. Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain control over someone. The abuser doesn’t play fair. They use intimidation, fear, shame, and guilt to wear someone down and keep that person under his or her thumb. The abuser may also threaten, hurt a person or hurt those around that person. PROBLEMS
First, Domestic violence programs across the country experience a significant upswing in requests for services by victims during stressful economic times. This includes increased crisis calls to hotlines, and requests for shelter, counseling, legal services, transitional housing and services for children. A bad economy does not cause domestic violence; however, there are a number of factors linked to poor economic conditions that are closely associated with domestic violence. Domestic violence is linked with unemployment, for example, as well as with poverty and its associated stressors. Victims experience an increase in the frequency and severity of abuse during hard economic times, in part because the abusers are home more and have the opportunity to lash out. At the same time, service providers often have to cut back on services due to budget constraints, meaning that victims have decreased access to support and resources outside the home. Moreover, abuse often escalates as economic stresses increase. Rhode Island, for example, has recently seen a 25% increase in felony-level domestic violence crimes (NNEDV, 2008). 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. (Benson & Greer, Final Report, 2002). 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. Domestic violence programs throughout the country are struggling to meet the increasing requests for help as more and more victims are reaching out for support and services (NNEDV, 2008). Secondly, due to budget decreases, organizations that deal with domestic violence are having to cut back on staff and are struggling with fewer resources. Kate Lombardi of the New York Times talk to people who are running nonprofit agencies in Westchester about how they are faring in this slumping economy, and the same phrase keeps coming up: ''the perfect storm'' (NY Times, 2008). Most of the groups that protect victims of domestic violence rely on a combination of financing sources, all of which are threatened. First, there is government money and the administrators of nonprofit organizations are keeping a wary eye on state and county...