Domestic Violence Counts
Click here to download a pdf version of the report
A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters
and services across the United States.
On September 15, 2009, 1,648 out of 1,980 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.
"The victims who come to us aren't asking for much. They need safety. They need support. They need to know they can keep their children safe from violence in their homes ."
- California Advocate
During the survey period, 65,321 adults and children requested and
received services from the 1,648 local domestic violence programs that were able to participate in the
Census. Since this is 83% 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 9,280 requests for
services from adults and children went unmet due to a lack of sufficient
resources. Also, during the survey period participating programs
answered 23,045 hotline calls from victims and their loved ones, and provided prevention and education sessions to 30,735 members of the community.
For the fourth 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.
"Agencies like ours give survivors information, support, and hope. In these harsh economic times, maybe hope is the most important element we foster." - Wyoming Advocate
In total, 1,648 out of 1,980 identified
primary purpose local domestic violence
programs participated in the survey,
representing an impressive return rate of 83%. Since some local programs did not participate in the 2009 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 September 2009, 65,321 adults and children were served by 1,648 local domestic violence
programs across the United States. During the 24-hour survey period more than 32,500 victims of domestic violence received housing services
from a domestic violence program, either in emergency shelters or transitional housing. An additional 32,797 victims received non-residential services such as support groups, children's counseling, and legal advocacy.
- 21,012 adults and children found refuge in emergency domestic violence shelters.
- 11,512 adults and children were living in transitional housing programs, designed specifically for domestic violence survivors.
- 32,797 adults and children sought non-residential advocacy and services such as individual counseling, legal advocacy, and
children's support groups.
"A woman sought help today after her abuser tied her up and beat her while his family watched. The abuser poured gasoline over her feet and threatened to set her on fire. Finally, a family member couldn't stand it anymore and, when the abuser left, untied her and slipped her a cell phone. She called 911 and is now in a safe place. She is incredibly courageous, but she's still extremely afraid."
- Massachusetts Advocate
Despite the incredible efforts of domestic violence programs, 9,280 requests for services were unmet on the survey day because of a lack of resources - from limited funds for critical services to not enough shelter space to insufficient program staff.
"A survivor and her daughters spent last night at a local motel after her abuser beat her. She asked me, "what is worse: a beating every week or not having a roof over my children's head and food in their bellies?" How do I answer that question? "
- Idaho Advocate
During the 24-hour survey period:
- 5,537 requests for emergency shelter went unmet,
- 3,743 requests for non-residential
services went unmet.
Nationwide, programs reported 1,989 staff were laid off or positions unfilled due to funding. 72% of programs have less then 20 paid staff. 38% of programs have less then 10 staff.
"I have been doing this work for two decades, and I have never seen a demand this strong. The economic situation has greatly aggravated the situation faced by many survivors "
- Massachusetts Advocate
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 23,045 calls and the National Domestic
Violence Hotline answered 869 calls. In
total, advocates responded to 23,914 hotline calls in the 24-hour survey period, which equals more than 16 hotline calls every minute.
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.
In just one day, 65,321 victims of domestic violence fleeing abuse and terror found help at domestic violence programs.. The need for domestic violence programs cannot be denied, because on that one day alone...
- A woman in Arkansas was able to obtain a protection order with the help of an advocate. Her abuser sexually molested her child and threatened to kill them both if she went to the authorities.
- A Spanish-speaking survivor who was eight months pregnant in California was so severely abused that her obstetrician recommended she go to the emergency room. A bilingual advocate helped her put together a safety plan in case the abuser was released from jail and helped her file for a temporary restraining order.
- A domestic violence program in West Virginia held a vigil in memory of a victim who died when her abuser set her on fire after she filed for a protection order.
- A program in California helped an 18-year-old girl who escaped an emotionally and physically abusive boyfriend. She was 15 when he took her to Mexico, isolating her from family and friends.
- Three children in Virginia got new backpacks, and school supplies and two new outfits each and shoes after their mother called the program's hotline. The program was also able to provide hair cuts for the children and their mother through a local hair salon.
In one day, 1,648 programs provided support and help to more than 65,000 survivors with stories just like these. Despite the tough economy and the stress of limited funding, advocates are still answering hotline calls and helping survivors of domestic violence. Domestic violence programs do more than provide safety, support, advocacy and hope. They save lives.