Economic Crisis Causes Spike in Domestic Violence

Economic Crisis causes spike in domestic violence - why it's happening, and how you can help

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Economic Crisis Causes Spike in Domestic Violence

Why it’s happening – and how you can help

-Carrie Seim

domestic violenceChris Brown’s alleged attack on Rihanna has brought to sickening light the scourge of domestic violence faced by thousands of women each day in this country.

Retha Fielding, Chief Communications Officer for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, says her organization has received an increase of 12 percent more calls since February. (Brown’s alleged assault on Rihanna took place February 8.)

While Fielding can’t definitively correlate the February spike with the current media focus on domestic violence, she surmises it may be related.

But one dangerous correlation the NDVH has definitively established? The link between financial problems and an increase in domestic violence.

Fielding says the NDVH noticed a spike of hotline calls in September 2008, which were up 21 percent from September 2007. In October 2008, the calls were up by 18 percent compared to 2007 numbers. “It got our attention,” Fielding says.

After conducting a study to help determine the cause of the increase in domestic violence calls, the organization was able to establish a definite link between financial stress and domestic violence.

According to the six week study, released in January, 54 percent of callers reported a change in their household’s financial situation in the past year.

More tellingly, 64 percent of callers surveyed responded affirmatively to the question, “Do you believe the abusive behavior has increased in the past year?”

So what can you do if you or someone you love is dealing with domestic violence?

Fielding encourages you to “reach out for help, whether it’s the hotline, a friend, just someone who can help you get help.”

And if you’re mad, angry or broken-hearted after reading our Chris Brown / Rihanna articles, get involved. The NDVH and organizations like it around the country are always in need of donations and volunteers.

Fielding says the NDVH is more than just a national referral service. They’ll find out where callers are and who can get them immediate help. “We don’t hang up until they’re safely on the next call.”

If you need help, call the NDVH at: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website:

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