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NNEDV’s 15th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report Illuminates Resilience, Struggle Amid COVID-19

May 11, 2021

Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) releases and announces the findings from its 15th annual Domestic Violence Counts Report at a virtual bipartisan Congressional briefing.

The annual Domestic Violence Counts Report documents the number of individuals who sought domestic violence services in a single 24-hour period, as well as the types of services requested, the number of service requests that went unmet due to a lack of resources, and the issues and barriers that domestic violence programs face as they strive to provide services to victims. This annual report is instrumental in raising awareness about domestic violence and the incredible work that local domestic violence programs do every day.

“NNEDV’s annual Domestic Violence Counts Report always seeks to shed light on the tireless work of advocates at local domestic violence programs,” said Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV’s President and CEO. “This past year, we saw the heroic efforts of staff in programs as they stretched every penny of funding and leveraged creative approaches to provide essential services to meet survivors’ needs under the incredibly challenging conditions of 2020. Despite their efforts, domestic violence programs simply do not have enough funding and urgent policy changes are needed. Especially this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary closures, social-distancing measures, and strains on both staff and resources meant fewer available services and interventions for survivors.”

The 15th annual Domestic Violence Counts Report found that, on September 10, 2020:

  • 76,525 adult and child victims of domestic violence received lifesaving services, including 38,586 victims who found refuge in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or other housing; and 37,939 victims who received nonresidential assistance and services, including counseling, legal advocacy, children’s support groups, and more.
  • Victims made 11,047 requests for services—including emergency shelter, housing, transportation, childcare, legal representation, and more—that could not be provided because programs lacked the resources to meet victims’ needs. Approximately 57 percent of these unmet requests were for housing and emergency shelter.
  • Due to the pandemic, thirty-six percent of programs reported more than $25,000 in additional or unplanned spending in order to maintain services, including procuring PPE; upgrading technology in order to provide digital services; paying for hotel nights or rental assistance for survivors; covering unexpected transportation costs; and addressing other urgent needs.

This past year, existing barriers to safety for survivors were further exacerbated by the pandemic. Survivors of color experienced these barriers more acutely, due to ongoing oppression, racism, and systemic discrimination that often prevent survivors from accessing the resources they need. For all survivors, we must do better. NNEDV asks the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to ensure that all survivors get the support they need, including:

  • Centering the needs of survivors of color in all legislation, appropriations, and policymaking, and supporting funding and policies that reduce barriers to safety and justice for survivors who face past or ongoing oppression and systemic discrimination;
  • Reforming systems that disproportionately harm Communities of Color, including the criminal justice and child welfare systems;
  • Implementing COVID-19 relief funds and policies to allow local programs to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of survivors and increase access to housing, health, and economic resources for all survivors;
  • Reauthorizing and improving the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by enhancing access to safety, justice, and economic stability for all survivors; increasing prevention; reducing reliance on systems that are not helping all survivors; creating new resources for survivors of color; maintaining protections for LGBTQIA+ survivors; and expanding tribal jurisdiction;
  • Reauthorizing and improving the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) by bolstering existing programs; increasing funding for culturally specific programs serving Communities of Color; and scaling up prevention strategies to reach every community;
  • Saving the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and supporting over 6,000 local organizations that rely on VOCA’s non-taxpayer funding source—the Crime Victims Fund—to provide lifesaving direct services; and
  • Enacting policies that address survivors’ housing needs and promote financial security, workplace protections and economic justice for survivors; and increasing access to childcare, transportation, legal assistance, and comprehensive services tailored to survivors’ needs.

Today’s briefing is held in cooperation with Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI 4th), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 1st), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th), and Rep. John Katko (R-NY 24th) and moderated by Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV President and CEO. Representatives Moore, Fitzpatrick, and Jackson Lee will give remarks.

The event will also feature remarks from Zaida Hernandez (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships (SOAR), Task Force of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence); Rachna Khare (Executive Director, Daya Houston); Cierra Hart (Housing and Economic Justice Manager, New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence); and Dr. Leila Wood, MSSW (Associate Professor, Director of Evaluation for the Center for Violence Prevention, Department of Ob/Gyn, University of Texas, Medical Branch).

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The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a nonprofit charitable organization, is a leading voice against violence. NNEDV is dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV’s members include the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence, which have more than 2,000 local programs. NNEDV is a premiere national organization that has worked to advance the movement against domestic violence for over thirty years, having led efforts to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and to reauthorize and strengthen countless laws and regulations to increase safety and end violence. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit