The Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new analysis of domestic violence from 2003 to 2012 and found that the rates have fallen and has remained low.
Despite the recession, which early reports indicated would drive a rise in domestic violence incidents as families struggled financially, it did not have much of an effect at all.
“Serious violent victimization,” which includes rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assaults, spiked in 2006, but serious domestic violence incidents did not.
Domestic violence advocates aren’t too thrilled about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ findings. They see a growing problem — a persistent gap in support for domestic violence survivors. Despite those rosy numbers from BJS, much more should be done for the survivors.
While the government started giving funds to law enforcement outreach and support for survivors through the Violence Against Women Act, as well as other programs, public awareness has led to victims being less likely to seek out support services.
Monica McLaughlin of the National Network to End Domestic Violence said, “As police response improves, as prosecution and court response improves, as medical response improves, referrals to domestic violence programs go up.”
She said the recession has had an impact on how many survivors seek help from the various services available to them. McLaughlin said “poverty is a co-conspirator of an abuser.” She added that federal funding for shelters and other services has remained flat throughout the recession and the result is a gap between requests for services and the ability to provide them.