Data Points: Domestic Violence Counts

written by Sam Batko
October 17, 2013

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As I probably don’t need to tell you, domestic violence and homelessness are inextricably connected: in January 2010, 12 percent of people counted in the point-in-time count were survivors of domestic violence. And, a study in Massachusetts found that 92 percent of homeless women had experienced severe physical or sexual assault at some point in their life.

Survivors of domestic violence are served by both homelessness specific service agencies as well as domestic violence specific service agencies. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has identified close to 2,000 local domestic violence programs in the US. Every year, NNEDV conducts a single-day survey of these organizations, similar to HUD’s point in time count, to enumerate the number of survivors seeking assistance and the number of survivors provided with various services, including emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, among others.

In September 2012, 86 percent of identified domestic violence service providers participated in the Domestic Violence Counts and found:

  • 64,324 survivors were served in one day;
  • 35,323 were provided with housing assistance, including over 22,000 in emergency shelter programs;
  • 20,821 calls were made to domestic violence hotlines; and
  • 6,818 requests for emergency shelter and transitional housing were unmet.

Over 40 percent of programs reported not having the funding for needed programs and services and 26 percent reported not having enough available beds and/or no resources for emergency hotel placements.

Domestic violence provider agencies cannot meet all of the need they face and homeless service providers may not be able to meet all of the needs of survivors. Communities should work to facilitate creative partnerships between domestic violence agencies and homeless services providers to ensure that no survivor is left without access to needed emergency housing or having her service needs incompletely met.