Domestic Abuse and Budget Cuts: What’s The Connection?

By MeganHarris
Written by Guest Contributor-Kristy Christopher-Holloway, Founder and Director of New Vision Counseling Center
One in three American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.  Domestic abuse is no respecter of persons and affects people of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence or domestic abuse consists of spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV) and can be defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation.  It can be identified as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
So, what does funding have to do with domestic abuse/violence? The government has discussed budget cuts all around but in Georgia alone, the State has proposed a $4.5 million budget cut which would mean that domestic violence shelters would no longer operate on state funding. If these cuts take place, this can potentially lead to dreadful results.  If state funding is replaced by federal funding, more stringent criteria will be put in place. The federal government allocates money to each state through federal funds such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); also known as welfare; the abuse victim would need to be in a certain income bracket or a single mother with a child(ren) in order to qualify for shelter services. But domestic violence is indiscriminate it does not care about income levels or qualifying criteria. If the shelters that house and assist abuse victims have to turn them away, are the shelters essentially saying to victims that they need to remain in the situation until a better opportunity to leave comes along or until they “qualify”? Would bruises, emotional and financial abuse be a good enough “qualifier”?
In 2009, the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report found that the majority of people killed were trying to leave an abusive relationship (75 percent of those murders happen when the victim tries to leave the relationship). A victim needs help sooner, rather than later. Due to the pattern of abuse, many victims are isolated emotionally, financially and geographically from family, making it that much harder for them to turn to family in time of need.
By turning away any victim, there could be an increase in crime and murders since about 30 percent of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.  Abuse also has direct links to depression, stress and anxiety, poor job performance and missed work. So, in the long run, treating these issues could turn out to be more costly for the state/federal-funded program that offers assistance. When an abuse victim is ready to escape, the doors should be opened not closed.
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233).









Kristy Christopher-Holloway, LPC, NCC, DCC, CAMS is the Founder and Director of New Vision Counseling Center, LLC with locations in Douglasville and Smyrna, GA. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Georgia and a National Certified Counselor. New Vision Counseling Center, LLC offers affordable mental health counseling to children, adolescents and adults providing individual, group, family and couples counseling. Visit www.newvisioncounselingcenter.com for more information.

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