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Domestic Violence

By Janie Williams

The City of Surprise is one of the fastest growing communities in Maricopa County. Not only does this growth allow special attractions such as spring baseball training, aquatic events, great restaurants and other amenities, sadly, it also means increasing numbers of domestic violence victims.

Eve’s Place in Surprise is striving to meet those growing demands by offering support groups, emergency shelter and a 24-hour helpline. You may be asking yourself how much domestic violence is really occurring in Surprise? Below are some national statistics as well as information for the Surprise area itself.

Nationally, estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend per year to three million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives, according to a 1998 Commonwealth Fund survey.

Nearly 25 percent of American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey, conducted from November 1995 to May 1996.

Thirty percent of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.

In the year 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490 women) were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner.

In 2001, intimate partner violence made up 20 percent of violent crime against women. The same year, intimate partners committed three percent of all violent crime against men.

Each year 324,000 pregnant women in the U.S. are battered by the men in their lives.

Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate.

On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner.

Pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to be victims of homicide than to die of any other cause, and evidence exists that a significant proportion of all female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners.

In 2004 the City of Surprise Police received 55,000 calls for service. Over 400 of those calls resulted in arrests for domestic violence, more than half were witnessed by children. This year, Surprise Police expect to receive over 75,000 calls. Calls to 911 are only the tip of the iceberg as women usually call the police for help only as a last resort. Other women suffer in silence as they are verbally abused, isolated, and raped by their partners.

Women who are battered often go to extreme and courageous lengths to protect their children from an abusive partner. Research has shown that the non-abusing parent is often the strongest protective factor in the lives of children who are exposed to domestic violence. However, growing up in a violent home may be a terrifying and traumatic experience than can affect every aspect of the child’s life, growth and development.

Studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually.

Domestic violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities in this country, according to the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse.

In a national survey of more than 6,000 American Families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.

Men who as children were exposed to their parents’ domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own wives as sons of non violent parents.

Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety and violence towards peers.

One study of 2,245 children and teenagers found that recent exposure to violence in the home was a significant factor in predicting a child’s violent behavior.

Senior abuse is also on the rise. Every year, an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological and other forms of abuse and neglect. While the gravity of abuse against individuals in later life is clear this problem has long remained invisible. Only 1 out of every 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities.

This abuse in later life can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or financial and is typically a combination of one or more. Studies show that between 2% and 10% of the elderly population has been abused. The abuse happens to physically and mentally healthy adults as well as “vulnerable adults”. The elderly (80 years of age and older) are abused and neglected at a rate of 2 to 3 times their proportion of the elderly population.

Since opening in March 2006, Eve’s Place has provided over 600 bed nights of safety for women and their children. Currently, they can accommodate 8 clients at any one time and hope to open a second house in 2007. The need is great and the resources from all areas are needed to meet the needs of the community.

Article submitted by Janie Williams, Executive Area Manager, Independent Consultant, Arbonne International. Resources include The Family Violence Prevention Fund;; Domestic Violence Center; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


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