Domestic Violence Counts
A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters
and services across the United States.
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On September 25, 2007, 1,346 out of 1,949 local domestic violence programs
across the United States participated in the National Census of
Domestic Violence Services (NCDVS). The following figures represent information provided by the participating programs about services they provided during the 24-hour survey period.
"During the 24-hour survey period, our program was still coping with the aftermath of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in our community a few weeks ago. Advocates from the program provided support to grieving friends and family and we are working to create community change."
- A Wisconsin DV program
During the survey period, 53,203 adults and children requested and
received services from the 1,346
local domestic violence programs that were able to participate in the
Census. Since this is 69% of local
domestic violence programs in the U.S., it does not represent the total number of victims seeking services
nationwide. Participating programs reported that 7,707 requests for
services from adults and children went unmet due to a lack of sufficient
resources. Also, during the survey period participating programs
answered 20,582 hotline calls from victims and their loved ones, and provided prevention and education sessions to 29,902 members of the community.
For the second consecutive year, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducted the National Census of Domestic Violence Services (Census). Designed to protect the safety and confidentiality of victims, the Census collects an unduplicated count of adults and children seeking domestic violence services during a single 24-hour period.
"On September 25, 2007 a woman arrived at a shelter in Nevada with her two young children. She was wearing little clothing, and the duct tape that her abuser had bound her with was still hanging from her wrists and ankles. As she approached the front door of the shelter, her husband, who had followed her, ran up, grabbed one of the children from her arms, and quickly left. Shelter staff helped her inside and called the police. As of two days after this event neither her abuser nor her child has been located."
In total, 1,346 out of 1,949 identified
primary purpose local domestic violence
programs participated in the survey,
representing an impressive return rate of 69%. Since some local programs did not participate in the 2007 survey, this Census provides a powerful glimpse but remains an undercount of the actual number of victims who sought and received services from local domestic violence programs nationwide.
On the survey day in November 2006, 47,864 adults and children were served by 1,243 local domestic violence
programs across the United States. During the 24-hour survey period more than 22,277 victims of domestic violence received housing services
from a domestic violence program, either in emergency shelters or transitional housing. An additional 25,587 victims received non-residential services such as support groups, children's counseling, and legal advocacy.
- 16,681 adults and children found refuge in emergency domestic violence shelters.
- 8,640 adults and children were living in transitional housing programs, designed specifically for domestic violence survivors.
- 27,882adults and children sought non-residential advocacy and services such as individual counseling, legal advocacy, and
children's support groups.
"The local police department called our program today and requested an advocate for a victim whose abuser had just been arrested after holding a gun to her head. Our advocate provided crisis intervention, safety planning, assisted the victim in obtaining a protection order, and bought the victim some groceries."
- Nebraska DV program
On the day of the Census, more that 25,000 victims requested and received housing, either in emergency shelters or in transitional housing.
Programs reported a considerable unmet demand for services due to a lack of resources, including limited staffing and overflowing shelters. During the 24-hour period, 7,707 requests for services were tragically unmet due to a lack of resources. Approximately 61% of these requests were for residential services - either emergency
shelter or transitional housing - and 39% were for non-residential
services. Faced with insufficient resources, local programs can sometimes successfully refer domestic violence victims to other agencies. However, too often, victims seeking help are left with no viable alternatives to remaining with an abuser.
"A woman called our program today looking for shelter. Our shelter was full and all of our funds had been expended. There were no available resources in the community. We tried to refer her to a local mission, but they were full and she was turned away. Later that evening, she was raped. After we got a call from the emergency room, our sexual assault counselor went to provide crisis counseling at the hospital. If our community had more resources, this could have ended differently."
- From an unknown program
During the 24-hour survey period:
- 2,923 requests for emergency shelter went unmet,
- 1,753 requests for transitional housing went unmet, and
- 3,031 requests for non-residential
services went unmet.
Results from the NCDVS show that
most programs operate with relatively
few staff. The Census show that 69% of participating local domestic violence
programs operate with 20 or fewer staff members, and approximately half of those programs operated with fewer than 10 paid staff members. Lack of sufficient staffing critically impacts programs' ability to meet victims' needs since most programs provide services and shelter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Domestic violence hotlines provide critical support and information for victims in danger. When victims of domestic violence and their
family members call 24-hour emergency
hotlines, it is often their first time seeking help and receiving crucial support from a local
domestic violence program. During the survey period, participating programs reported that local and state hotline advocates answered 19,432 calls and the National Domestic
Violence Hotline answered 1,150 calls. In
total, advocates responded to 20,582 hotline calls in the 24-hour survey period, which equals more than 14 hotline calls every minute.
"A victim of domestic violence came into our Thrift Store and picked up a brochure. She called the hotline from her car outside the store."
-A Texas DV program
WIDE RANGE OF
Local domestic violence programs provide a wide range of services
for victims seeking support and advocacy, including, but well
beyond emergency shelter. Domestic violence programs provide one-on-one advocacy for individuals as well as group advocacy. Individual advocacy includes one-on-one counseling, case management, safety planning, job counseling and training, housing support, legal services, accompaniments, and other services provided for individuals.
Group advocacy includes support groups for adults or children, group job-training and financial skills programs, group counseling services, and more; is usually moderated by staff, volunteers or peers; and is attended only by survivors.
"By the end of the survey day, one of our advocates had met with 11 women and 13 children. She advocated for their financial needs, car repairs, doctor appointments, and found extra funding to help them purchase medicine"
- A Georgia DV program
PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION
Because outreach and education are essential to ending violence, domestic violence programs offer training to their communities as part of their mission.
On the Census Day:
- Participating programs provided 1,521 Training and education sessions to the community.
- 29,902 individuals in communities across the United States attended training and education sessions.
The National Census of Domestic Violence Services, administered by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, revealed that 53,203 adults and children in the United States received services and support from 1,346 local domestic violence programs during a 24-hour period in September 2007. While a great number of domestic violence victims accessed and received services, a total of 7,707 requests by victims for services went unmet due to inadequate funding and resources for local domestic violence programs.
"On the survey day, a transitional housing guest exited our transitional housing program. She left the note: "I came here a year ago with nothing. I did not even have myself. You showed me that I have a future and there is always hope."
- A Pennsylvania DV program
This unmet demand highlights the need for additional funding and support. Given the dangerous and potentially lethal nature of many victims' circumstances, insufficient funding of domestic violence programs and services should be acknowledged as a serious barrier to those seeking help and safety. Domestic Violence programs across the country struggle everyday to serve victims who contact them. However, the reality is that with limited resources, funding and staffing, these programs are unable to meet the needs of every victim who calls or comes to their doors seeking help.