You’ve probably spent time thinking about the financial crisis, and if you’re reading this newsletter, you’re probably concerned about the plight of domestic abuse. Have you ever considered a connection between the two?
A study by The National Institute of Justice examined the connection between poverty, job loss, and domestic abuse. The study, entitled “When Violence Hits Home: How Economics and Neighborhood Play a Role,” shows a strong link. Families experiencing sustained periods of unemployment suffered an unfortunate rise in abuse. In couples where men sustained two or more periods of unemployment over five years, the instances of abuse increased nearly three times. This remained true across ethnic and geographic lines—nationally, and right here in Minnesota.
The problem for us locally is very real. According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average year will include over thirty-seven thousand women and children in Minnesota seeking aid and advocacy from organizations like The Lakes Crisis & Resource Center. That includes over ten thousand making use of emergency shelters.
These sorts of housing needs, as well as employment searches by women seeking to become independent from abusive partners, are frequently complicated by the poor economy. Here at The Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, one of the biggest problems we run into is securing lodging and work for women as they transition out of shelters.
Not every abuse victim is poor. Not every abuse victim needs help securing lodging or finding an income source. Abusers do not discriminate in those they cause pain to. Nevertheless, by understanding what populations are most at risk, intercessors are able to take steps towards breaking patterns of violence and aiding victims. We recognize the importance of providing aid in poor and high-risk areas, including those wrecked by the recent financial crisis, while simultaneously remembering our commitment to individuals who fall outside of a statistic.
One in four women will experience abuse in their lives. No attack is simply a set of boxes that, when ticked, create the perfect storm. Nevertheless, facts like those highlighted in this study provide a shining light, often pointing us towards those in need. With the amount of long-term unemployed in American hovering around four million people, there is certainly a lot of work to be done.