Head Counts and Calls to Action: Major Takeaways from the Domestic Violence Census, Originally Published in Ms. Magazine July 27, 2018

Original publication can be viewed here.

New findings released by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) shed light on the profound need for an increase in funding for critical resources and services for survivors and families—and the lifesaving work that advocates perform every day.

In a report published in June, NNEDV revealed the conclusions of their 12th annual one-day count of adults and children utilizing the services of domestic violence agencies in the U.S. last September. In total, exactly 1,694 local domestic violence programs out of 1,873 programs nationwide participated in the National Census of Domestic Violence Services, as did 72,245 adults and children.

On that single day alone, 40,470 adults and children found refuge in emergency or transitional housing; 24,030 people received training on domestic violence prevention; and over 20,000 hotline callers were assisted with legal information, trauma informed counseling and safety planning.

“It is impossible to list all the ways in which domestic violence programs support survivors who arrive at their doors,” NNEDV Executive Vice President Cindy Southworth said in a statement. “Many victims leave everything behind. Shelters give them a safe place to stay and the things they need to start rebuilding their lives, from backpacks for school to clothes for job interviews.”

The study also highlights the ways that funding cuts and consistent under-resourcing of DV agencies prevents them from fulfilling their critical missions. 11,441 individual service requests were unmet the day of the census due to lack of financial resources, as were 7,416 requests for housing ,

In response, the NNEDV called for action. With the release of the census results, they are demanding that Congress pass the Help End Abusive Living Situations Act to expand access to housing and homelessness-related resources for survivors, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and fund federal programs to address gender-based and relationship violence.

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