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2,300 Domestic Violence Victims Seek Help in PA in One Day

(March 26, 2013) Wilkes-Barre, PA – Pennsylvania’s 60 community-based domestic violence programs assisted 2,308 women, men and children during a 24-hour census of domestic violence services released yesterday. Another 933 requests for services had to be denied because of insufficient resources. The services provided included emergency shelter and transitional housing for 1,157 victims; counseling, legal advocacy and children’s services for 1,151 victims; and 915 hotline calls answered. Ninety percent of the unmet requests for services were for emergency shelter and transitional housing. The biggest reason cited for unmet service requests was not enough staff (37%), followed by not enough beds or funding for motels (32%); not enough funding for needed programs and services (25%); lack of specialized services (13%) and inadequate funding for translators, bilingual staff or accessible equipment (10%). “The numbers for this one day alone show just how hard our programs work with limited resources and how great the demand is for these lifesaving services,” said Peg Dierkers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This seventh annual census, conducted in all 50 states by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), occurred on Sept. 12, 2012. Nationally, on that day, 64,324 adults and children received domestic violence services, and 10,471 requests for services went unmet because of lack of resources. Pennsylvania ranked 7th highest among the states in total number of people served. NNEDV reports that domestic violence advocates are worried about pending funding cuts because of the federal budget sequester. A recent analysis predicted that, nationally, sequestration will mean 70,000 fewer victims will get help from their local domestic violence program, and 36,000 fewer victims will have access to protection orders, crisis intervention and counseling, sexual assault services, hospital-based advocacy, transitional housing and civil legal representation. “The effect of sequestration cuts, compounded by a decade of static funding for domestic violence services, will mean more unmet requests for services and more victims at risk for injury and even death,” said Paula Triano, executive director of the Domestic Violence Service Center, the local domestic violence program. “Domestic violence victims live in daily danger and don’t have the luxury of safely waiting until more money for services is available.” In 2009, and again in 2011, of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Luzerne County ranked third behind Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties only, in domestic violence related fatalities. In the recently released 2012 Fatality Report by Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, though Pennsylvania’s domestic violence fatality count was the lowest it’s been since 2008, the numbers are still shocking – total fatalities: 141. The full census report is available online at www.nnedv.org/census.