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Census Reveals a Snapshot of Violence in Virginia

February 16, 2009

Richmond, VA – The troubled economy hurts domestic violence victims in two ways: lost services and greater need for help. A yearly snapshot of programs in Virginia shows help is available for immediate assistance, but more long-term legal support and housing are necessary.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence took the snapshot. Each year, the Network conducts a survey of programs across the country. On that day this year in Virginia, more than 1,300 victims were served in one 24-hour period.

According to Kate McCord, public awareness manager for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance,, the biggest challenge for victims of domestic violence in Virginia is finding permanent, affordable housing and assistance over the long term.

"Economic uncertainly and recession make domestic violence victims and their children even more vulnerable to violence, as employment opportunities and safe housing become increasingly scarce."

McCord adds that the national Family Violence Prevention Services Act supports more than 2,000 community-based domestic violence programs nationwide, but its federal funding was cut by $2 million dollars last year. She hopes Congress will fully fund the program in 2009, because the deepening economic recession will result in an increasing demand for domestic violence programs and services.

"It's alarming. Even though domestic violence programs are doing the best they can, there is a growing unmet need and that need is going to increase as times get worse economically."

More information is available from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance at 804-377-0335.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA