The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

June 1, 2011

Economy impacts victims of domestic violence harshly

RALEIGH — A national trend in domestic violence is being reflected locally, according to one local agency.

A national survey – Mary Kay Truth About Abuse – conducted by the Mary Kay company reveals that victims of domestic violence have more obstacles to overcome in light of the economy and lack of jobs.

"The Mark Kay Truth About Abuse survey confirms for the third year in a row that the economy is affecting cases of domestic violence and the situation is becoming worse nationwide," said Meredith Holland, executive director of My Sister's House. "While the economy does not create domestic violence, a downturn can exacerbate the frequency and severity of abuse."

More than 670 domestic violence shelters across the country were surveyed in March 2011, including My Sister's House.

The shelters reported that since the onset of the economic decline in 2008, there has been an increase in demand for their services but a hampered ability to raise funds over the next 12 months.

The survey also revealed that 80 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide reported an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse, 48 percent of shelters link this increase in violence to job loss, 76 percent of domestic violence shelters indicate a drop in funding from most governmental organizations and 56 percent of shelters noticed that the abuse is more violent now than before the economic downturn.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper recently announced that the number of domestic violence deaths in the state was up to 107 in 2010 from 99 in 2009.

My Sister's House serves victims of domestic violence in Nash and Edgecombe Counties and received 2,157 crisis calls in 2010. The agency served 1,079 residents through outreach and 115 were provided with temporary shelter.

"The survey results clearly identify the increasing need for supporting women and children affected by domestic violence nationwide — especially in a challenging economy," said Anne Crews, Mark Kay Inc. vice president of government relations and board member of the Mary Kay Foundation. "Mary kay pledges once again to continue its commitment to preventing and ending this epidemic."

The survey also showed that 73 percent of shelters attribute the rise in domestic violence to financial issues, 89 percent expect their overall situation during the next year to be worse than it is now or the same due to the economy, 65 percent of women in shelters can't find a job because of the economy and 77 percent of shelters said that their clients stayed in their abusive relationship longer because of the economy.

"This survey data will be crucial to help raise much-needed funds," Holland said. "We applaud companies like Mary Kay for stepping up and strongly urge others to do their part to help end domestic violence."

"For nearly 48 years, we've been true to our approach of doing well by doing good," added Crews. "And we will continue to stand on our promise to help change the lives of women and children in the United States and around the world."

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