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February 23, 2010

Washington, D.C. – NNEDV today issued the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s remarks on domestic violence and unemployment.   

NNEDV's president, Sue Else, said, “The economy does not cause domestic violence but can make it worse.  Senator Reid is correct in discussing how pervasive domestic violence is and what job loss can do to exacerbate the problem.  The poor economy can fuel the fire of domestic violence and limit options for victims to escape.  The numbers back up what Senator Reid is seeing in Nevada.” 

Two indicators of economic distress also are related to the risk of intimate violence against women. First, the rate of violence increases as the number of periods of male unemployment increases. In couples in which the male is always employed, the rate of violence is 4.7 percent. The rate rises to 7.5 percent when the male experiences one period of unemployment and to 12.3 percent when he experiences two or more periods of unemployment between waves.  

Second, a strong relationship is found between subjective feelings of financial strain and the likelihood of violence against a woman in an intimate relationship. The rate of violence among couples with high levels of subjective financial strain is roughly three and a half times as high as it is among couples with low subjective strain (9.5 versus 2.7 percent). (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/intimate-partner-violence/economic-distress.htm)  

“Senator Reid has long been a champion for survivors of domestic violence and believes in holding perpetrators accountable,” Else said.  “We applaud his continued leadership in serving Nevadans and standing up for victims of domestic and sexual violence across the country.”