NNEDV’s 16th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report Illuminates Resilience, Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic, and Funding and Housing Needs
March 21, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NNEDV Communications team ([email protected])
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) releases the findings from its 16th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report. The annual report documents the number of people who sought domestic violence services in a single 24-hour period, as well as the types of services requested and the number of service requests that went unmet due to a lack of resources.
“NNEDV’s Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report is instrumental in raising awareness about domestic violence and the incredible work local domestic violence programs do every day,” said Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV President and CEO. “The report seeks to shed light on the work of advocates serving survivors at local programs and to make sure that work and their needs are seen by those who can help make more resources and options available.”
The domestic violence counts survey took place on September 9, 2021, nearly a year and a half after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs and survivors were still navigating the changes and challenges brought on by the pandemic—now moving from handling it as a short-term crisis to long-term change management.
“This report captures both the resiliency of survivors and programs and the intense impact the pandemic, and our nation’s other intersecting crises, are still having on them and their needs. The impact of ongoing racial injustice, hate crimes and other violence, natural disasters, and a devastating economic downturn have exacerbated their struggles and brought their unique needs to the forefront,” Vagins noted.
The 16th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report found that on September 9, 2021, 70,032 adult and child victims of domestic violence received lifesaving services, including 38,608 victims who found refuge in emergency shelters, transitional housing, hotels, motels, or other housing; and 31,424 victims who received non-residential assistance and services, including counseling, legal advocacy, and children’s support groups. On that same day, local programs were unable to meet 9,444 requests for services—primarily requests for housing or emergency shelter—because they lacked sufficient resources.
“We are grateful that so many survivors were served on the day of the survey, but we cannot rest until no one is turned away. The numbers of victims not served are distressing on their own, but the true scope of the problem is worse: many survivors had limited access to help because of the pandemic or the dearth of services in their communities and may not even be able to seek help. Despite their efforts, programs simply do not have enough funding to engage in the work necessary to address victims’ needs,” said Vagins.
Domestic violence programs continue to face insufficient funding at the federal, tribal, state, territorial, and local levels. This funding can mean the difference between staying with an abusive partner or having the ability to safely escape.
More funding and resources are urgently needed. Many programs have seen ongoing increases in requests for shelter, housing, financial help, and other assistance as living costs continued to rise. Many survivors also need access to low-barrier cash assistance and tax credits. Annual and supplemental funds provided by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “DV Bonus Funds” are essential federal funding streams for victim services.
In addition to highlighting the need for increased funding and appropriations, the 16th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report outlines necessary policy changes that can help survivors, including centering the needs of Communities of Color in all legislation, appropriations, and policymaking; enacting workplace protections that promote financial security; enacting policies that promote economic security; advancing access to safe, affordable housing; and strengthening protections for immigrant and other marginalized survivors, among others.
Advocates at every level, national experts, journalists, and policymakers rely on the report to understand survivors’ urgent needs, the issues and barriers domestic violence programs face as they strive to provide services to victims, and the necessary funding and policy changes that could help.
Members of Congress praised the report’s release and its value as a resource in their work to address the funding and policy needs of survivors and the advocates and programs that serve them:
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA):
“As someone who worked at a victim’s shelter, answering the hotline in college, I recognize the tireless work that NNEDV’s Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report demonstrates. As policymakers, the state-specific and national data help to give us a clear picture of the lifesaving work of shelters and why it’s so important they get the vital resources to do their jobs and to help those in need. That’s why I’m especially proud that last week we passed legislation to modernize and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and to help ensure we can meet the needs of all survivors.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):
“NNEDV’s Domestic Violence Counts Report highlights the important work of domestic violence service providers and I deeply appreciate this valuable resource. The report demonstrates the gap in resources and laws needed to end domestic violence. My colleagues and I are working to close this gap, including through the recently passed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.”
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1):
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated domestic violence in our country. Domestic violence touches every community in our country, and our nation’s shelter and advocacy programs are there to respond. The data on those who cannot be served due to a lack of program resources fuels our desire to pass federal legislation that fills the gaps like the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fix and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).”
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18):
“To advocate for survivors and ensure they receive justice, we first need to understand their needs, The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report puts the accounts of advocates and the survivors they serve at the forefront. It is a compelling report, offering both data and stories to help inform the national conversation on domestic violence.”
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 U.S. state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is a social change organization with a mission to create a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.