HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Dangerous Shortage of Domestic Violence Services

More than 10 percent of victims of domestic abuse report that they were unable to receive help they needed according to a study published by the Health Affairs Web site.


The study, published on September 22, 2009, was performed by Rahda Lyengar of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Lindsay Sabik of Harvard University. According to the abstract

[t]he results analyze the information gathered from federally funded local domestic violence programs in the U.S.about the calls each received over one 24-hour period (September 13, 2006). According to the data, 48,350 people reported contacting the agencies. Of these, 5,183 respondents could not be helped due to a lack of a program's resources. Unmet requests included those for emergency shelter, transitional housing, and non-residential services, such as one-to-one counseling, safety planning and legal services.

As reported in the Sunday Health Policy Update of Health Affairs, Dr. Iyengar states:

These community-based organizations are often the last resort before the emergency room for victims of domestic violence. … Clearly more funding of domestic violence programs is needed to meet as many requests for support as possible. Our research has identified a special need for more transitional housing, since shelters with transitional housing report much lower rates of victims returning to their abusive partners.



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