HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s 60 local domestic violence programs helped 2,321 adults and children stay safe in one 24-hour period last September, even as 90 percent of the programs reported decreased funding and 69 percent reported increased demand for services.
The results, released today, of the 24-hour census, conducted in all 50 states by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, reveal that in Pennsylvania on Sept. 15, 2010:
* 1,034 domestic violence victims stayed in emergency shelters or transitional housing.
* 1,287 victims received other services, including counseling, legal advocacy and children’s support groups.
* 959 hotline calls, about 40 an hour, were answered.
* 254 requests for services, including 184 requests for emergency shelter or transitional housing, went unmet due to a continuing shortage of funds, staff and resources.
Only five states ranked higher than Pennsylvania in number of people served on that day: Texas, California, New York, Florida and Michigan.
“These impressive numbers represent just one day’s work for the staff of our local programs, who every day assist victims and their children in finding a refuge from the violence and starting new lives free of fear. This past year saw demand for these life-saving services grow as both public and private funding for them declined,” said Peg Dierkers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Our communities are still feeling the impact of high unemployment and the recession. These conditions don’t cause domestic violence but they can make it worse in homes where it already exists.”
Dierkers noted that funding cuts since 2002 have also challenged the ability of other human services programs to step in and help. “All agencies are doing as much as they can, but much of the need is not being met, which is putting victims at risk and placing additional burdens on law enforcement and the courts,” she said.
Nationally, the census found that on Sept. 15:
* More than 929 hotline calls were answered every hour.
* About 9,500 requests for services went unmet, mostly due to funding shortfalls.
* Three women were murdered by their intimate partners.
* Three men committed suicide – one after murdering his wife, one after a failed
attempt to kill his girlfriend and one after holding his partner hostage and a
* 36 babies were born to women staying in domestic violence shelters
* 391 survivors started new jobs.
The complete National Domestic Violence Counts 2010 results are available at http://www.nnedv.org/census.