Renee* has endured years of abuse. Since her husband was laid off due to the economy, the abuse has become more frequent because he is home all day long. She used to feel safe during work hours, but now she feels as though she doesn’t even have a home.
Jill* used to meet with her counselor once a week. These sessions helped her believe that what her abuser did and said to her was not her fault. They helped to empower her to take back the control of her own life. She no longer meets with her counselor because her abuser checks her gas gauge. He says they can’t afford for her to drive anywhere because gas is too expensive.
In May 2010, Mary Kay released the national findings from their second “Truth About Abuse” survey, in which they polled 731 domestic violence shelters across the United States. The survey, which focused on domestic violence and the economy since September 2008, was designed to understand how the economy has impacted shelters during this time of national financial hardship.
The results were staggering. Three out of four shelters reported an increase in the number of individuals seeking assistance and more than 50 percent of shelters reported the violence was more violent. In the past year, A Woman’s Place (AWP) saw a 13 percent increase in services provided.
The increase in the degree of violence may be attributed to the fact that two out of three shelters indicated that the individuals they serve stayed longer in abusive relationships before seeking assistance than they would have in the past. With jobs being increasingly difficult to find, victims are less likely to leave their homes to start a new life on their own.
What is equally as disheartening is although there was an increase in services needed, 41 percent of the domestic violence shelters had to decrease their services or eliminate staff positions due to the failing economy and lack of funding, and most anticipate that the situation will either stay the same or get worse in the next year.
During the past year the staff at AWP recognized the growing needs of the community and the decrease in funding. In order to avoid eliminating staff and continue to provide the same level of services, all employees took an 8 percent decrease in salary. AWP was able to provide more than 17,000 hours of counseling services, provide shelter for 132 women and 84 children, and answer 4,495 hotline calls last year. Thanks to your ongoing support – especially through challenging times – AWP was here to help victims in need.
AWP is committed to our mission to end intimate and familial violence for all. It is times like these where is it so important for everyone in the community to become engaged in the cause, join together, and support one another.
If you like would like to help support Domestic Violence Prevention and A Woman’s Place you can do so by one of the following ways:
- Write a check and mail it to A Woman’s Place at PO Box 299, Doylestown, PA 18901.
- Call Development Director Jenny Salisbury, at (215) 343-9241 ext. 108 and make a gift using your credit card.
- Support A Woman’s Place every day by pledging a monthly gift to A Woman’s Place.
- Log onto the website at www.awomansplace.org, click on the “Donate Now” button, and make a safe and secure donation online.
With deepest appreciation,
Donna J. Byrne
*Names have been changed to protect identities.