Fewer public and private dollars have been going into programs that help victims of domestic violence, leaving thousands of women and their children unable to get the services they need.
A new report (pdf) from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) says that more than 10,800 domestic violence victims could not be helped last year out of more than 78,500 victims overall who contacted programs, which total more than 2,000 in the U.S. The programs couldn’t help everyone who asked for it because they lacked the resources to do so.
NNEDV said 28% of the programs were unable to provide the necessary resources because of cuts in government funding. Another 18% blamed cuts from private funding sources, and 14% reported reductions in individual donations as the cause.
“We haven’t yet been able to recover from the severe state budget cuts we’ve experienced over the past eight or nine years,” Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told ThinkProgress. “It’s still way below where funding levels were at six or seven years ago before the recession.”
When shelters are forced to turn victims away due to lack of funding or space, it can often force them to remain in bad situations for longer periods. Insufficient funding can also keep victims in shelters longer because the individuals can’t get housing and vocational support they need to get out on their own, or they’re forced to return to the homes where they were abused.