Census: Large demand, low resources for state domestic violence programs
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – In a single day in 2015, Kentucky domestic violence programs served 1,004 adults and children. According to a census by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, however, a significant number of requests for help – 129 — went unmet because domestic violence agencies lacked the funding and staff to meet demand.
The data comes from the tenth National Census of Domestic Violence Services, conducted on September 16, 2015. All of Kentucky’s 15 regional domestic violence programs participated, reported Sherry Currens, Executive Director of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“This is a snapshot of a typical day at a domestic violence program in Kentucky,” Currens said. “Unfortunately, nearly 130 survivors or their children were unable to get help.”
During the 24-hour survey period, Kentucky adults and children received domestic violence services including:
- 628 victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs
- 376 adults and children received non-residential services, including: counseling, legal advocacy, transportation, financial literacy, employment assistance, childcare, and children’s support groups.
In addition, 167 calls were answered by regional crisis hotlines on September 16, nearly 7 calls every hour. All of these life-saving services were provided despite 50 percent of Kentucky’s domestic violence programs operating with less than 20 staff.
Many programs reported a critical shortage of funds and staff to assist victims who needed transportation, housing and emergency shelter, legal services, financial assistance, and mental health or substance abuse counseling. Of the 129 unmet requests for help, 88 were from victims who needed emergency shelter or housing, 14 of which were children. Programs sited government funding cuts as the primary reason they could not meet all requests for services. Sixty percent of programs also suffered staff lay-offs.
More information about the National Census of Domestic Violence Services is available online at http://www.nnedv.org/census.