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Domestic Violence Still Counts: NNEDV’s 12th Annual National Census

June 13, 2018

Washington, DC – Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released results from the National Census of Domestic Violence Services (Census) in its 12th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report. For 24 hours, the Census surveys domestic violence programs across the United States and territories to create a one-day snapshot of the services provided to survivors and their children.

“It is impossible to list all the ways in which domestic violence programs support survivors who arrive at their doors. Many victims leave everything behind. Shelters give them a safe place to stay and the things they need to start rebuilding their lives, from backpacks for school to clothes for job interviews,” said NNEDV Executive Vice President Cindy Southworth.

These local programs are a safe haven and provide life-saving assistance for survivors and their children in times of fear and uncertainty. In partnership with families, communities, law enforcement, health care workers, and other advocates, domestic violence programs provide victims and their children with the resources they desperately need to rebuild their lives.

These 1,694 local domestic violence programs responded to the Census, and the data show that in just one day in 2017:

  • 72,245 adults and children received help and support from domestic violence programs. Sixty-seven percent of these adults and children found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing;
  • 24,030 individuals attended prevention and education trainings offered by domestic violence programs on that day, including students, teachers, law enforcement, and community leaders; and
  • 20,352 calls for help were answered by local, state, and national hotline staff and volunteers.
  • On the day the Census was conducted, more than 100 of responding programs (6%) had recently been affected by disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding.

Such disasters can cause the loss of temporary or recently acquired housing, interruptions to medical care, and inability to find work, which only exacerbates instability for survivors. While disasters made programs’ work more difficult, new federal resources helped some programs expand their work. Recently increased federal funding helped 714 domestic violence programs hire a total of 2,025 staff.

“Each and every one of these new advocates will make an enormous impact on the lives of survivors in their communities,” said NNEDV President & CEO Kim Gandy. “Every new staff member hired is another person who can counsel, assist, and support victims and their children.”

However, the phenomenal work of domestic violence programs continues to be undermined by a lack of resources. On this year’s Census Day, 11,441 requests for services could not be met due to a lack of funding.

“Every victim should have access to the lifesaving services of domestic violence shelters, services, and programs,” said Gandy. “Turning away survivors and their children can mean sending them back into violent and dangerous situations, forcing them to confront the challenges of homelessness, or preventing them from gaining access to legal or medical resources. It is devastating to know that on Census Day, shelters nationwide were forced to say ‘no’ to more than 11,000 requests for help because they simply lacked the resources.”

Today, nearly 100 advocates from across the country are joining NNEDV on Capitol Hill to call for legislation that protects crucial funding and increases protections for survivors. Advocates are calling on Congress to:

  • Pass the Help End Abusive Living Situations (HEALS) Act, a critical bill that will expand access to housing and homelessness-related resources for survivors of domestic violence;
  • Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) without any rollbacks in funding or protections;
  • Reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), the only federal funding source specifically for services to survivors of intimate partner violence; and
  • Fund federal programs to address domestic and sexual violence.

NNEDV thanks Facebook and Google for their generous support of this year’s #DVcounts Census Report.

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