Posted on Aug 17, 2010
A new study has found that domestic abuse rates increase during times of financial stress – with couples experiencing three times more domestic violence during tough financial times. The study also found that domestic violence rates increase 117 percent from 2008 to 2009, during the economic downturn.

While the study’s researchers were quick to say that financial stress doesn’t directly cause violence and abuse in families, they did conclude that it often exacerbates existing problems – and than many domestic abuse victims have an even harder time leaving their intimate partner if they don’t have the funds to do so or the ability to secure a job.

The study focused on families that had been faced with unemployment within the last five months, and the majority of domestic violence victims interviewed cited stress and job loss as major factors in their abuse. But while domestic abuse shelters say that they have had an increase in victims who need support, law enforcement says that their number of domestic disturbance calls have not gone up. They say that while economic problems could spark an act of domestic violence, it is usually not the core problem. Instead, drinking and drugs are often problems, as are those with a history of violence and abuse.

As for officials and lawmakers, many are concerned with the new information that a bad economy can affect the rate of domestic abuse. Especially because many state governments are also suffering from financial problems, lawmakers wonder how domestic violence shelters and other resources for abused spouses will handle the extra need.
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington