Monthly Archives: November 2009

AARA Extends Unemployment Benefits for DV Victims

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) included several provisions for modernizing state unemployment insurance systems, such as providing access to unemployment insurance benefits to various groups who were not previously covered by state laws, including victims of domestic violence. Under ARRA, the federal government provided incentive payments to states that chose to make changes to their unemployment insurance systems.


Employment is crucial to a victim being able to separate from an abusive situation. With a job and source of income separate from an abuser, a victim can find a safe place to live, pay for alternative child care arrangements, new forms of transportation, medical costs, and legal bills. But in these days of economic uncertainty, many victims are too afraid of losing desperately needed jobs to pursue legal remedies, seek medical treatment, or to take other essential steps to secure their safety.

Employers often fire victims who reveal that they are victims of violence or who ask for assistance dealing with the violence. Two recent studies of partner stalking of victims found that between 15.2 and 27.6 percent of women reported that they lost a job due, at least in part, to domestic violence.

The full report by Legal Momentum contains information about the relationship between employment and other economic safety nets and reducing violence against women, along with information about individual states that have or have not adopted the extended benefits.

September 2009 Report: Females Murdered by Males

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of Homicide Data – Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim, Single Offender Incidents, Violence Policy Center, Washington, DC.

2007 Data, September 2009 Report

Excerpts from the report:
One federal study on homicide among intimate partners found that female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined, concluding that “the figures demonstrate the importance of reducing access to firearms in households affected by IPV [intimate partner violence].”

Gun use does not need to result in a fatality to involve domestic violence. A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed gun use at home and concluded that “hostile gun displays against family members may be more common than gun use in self-defense, and that hostile gun displays are often acts of domestic violence directed against women.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.

A woman must consider the risks of having a gun in her home, whether she is in a domestic violence situation or not. While two thirds of women who own guns acquired them “primarily for protection against crime,” the results of a California analysis show that “purchasing a handgun provides no protection against homicide among women and is associated with an increase in their risk for intimate partner homicide.”

A 2003 study about the risks of firearms in the home found that females living with a gun in the home were nearly three times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun in the home.

Women who were murdered were more likely, not less likely, to have purchased a handgun in the three years prior to their deaths, again invalidating the idea that a handgun has a protective effect against homicide.

In this study:
In 2007, there were 1,865 females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents that were submitted to the FBI for its Supplementary Homicide Report. Of those:

91% of female victims were murdered by someone they knew.

For victims who knew their offenders, 62% were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.

Nationwide, more female homicides were committed with firearms (51%) than with any other weapon.

Louisiana ranked first as the state with the highest homicide rate among female victims killed by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents. Its rate of 2.53 per 100,000 was nearly double the national average.

Louisiana was followed by Alaska and Wyoming.

The full report (pdf file).

Indian Law Resource Center Launches New Site

Violence Against Native Women Violates Human Rights is a new website launched by the Indian Law Resource Center in coordination with the National Congress of American Indians. The website discusses how to use international advocacy to end violence against Native American women. 

How can international advocacy reduce violence against Native American Women?

National Survey Finds Significant Unment Need for DV Services

Summary of “The Dangerous Shortage of Domestic Violence Services,” Iyengar/Sabik, Health Affairs, September 2009.

Domestic violence is a preventable but serious public health problem in the U.S., with more than 30 million people in the country experiencing some type of domestic violence each year. However, little information exists about the availability of federally funded services for people who experience domestic violence. Radha Iyengar, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the London School of Economics, and Lindsay Sabik, a graduate student in health policy at Harvard University, used the National Census of Domestic Violence Services to analyze the services available through domestic violence intervention programs in the U.S. Over a single 24-hour survey period in November 2006, 160 programs responded to service requests from 48,350 people. However, more than 5,000 of those requests could not be met because of a shortage of resources.  Full story

Attorney General Eric Holder on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Excerpts from remarks by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Full text

. . . . Last year, there were over a half million non-fatal violent victimizations committed against women age 12 or older by an intimate partner. And more than 2,000 women and men were killed by intimate partners last year. These are not mere statistics we are talking about – we are talking about individual human beings: friends, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, relatives. We should be appalled that this type of violence is visited upon them in this day and age. And we must do everything in our power to stop it.

While women are by no means the only victims of domestic violence, the facts are clear – women are most often murdered by people they know. In 2007, 64 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a family member or intimate partner. By comparison, 16 percent of male homicide victims were murdered by a family member or intimate partner. Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.

The numbers are similarly staggering when it comes to children’s experiences of domestic violence. According to a survey released two weeks ago by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1 in 4 children are exposed to some form of family violence in their lifetime.

These numbers are shocking and unacceptable.

. . . . We know that violence in the home doesn’t just impact individuals and families. It devastates entire communities because it is a precursor to so many other forms of violence. When children witness or experience violence in the home, it affects how children feel, how they act, and how they learn. Without intervention, children are at higher risk for school failure, substance abuse, repeat victimization, and perhaps most tragically, perpetrating violence later in their own lives.

We know that we must be open to new ideas and approaches. We must learn from each other what has worked – and what has not. We must acknowledge the great cultural diversity in our country and rise to the challenge of providing services that are truly culturally and linguistically relevant. We must dare to think differently and we must value innovation.

As a father of three children, I recognize that change has to come from within families as well. We all need to be role models and mentors for our children so that they have the best chance of living in violence-free communities and families.

None of us can solve this crisis alone. But by working together, by using every tool at our disposal and by refusing to ever back down or give up, we can make a real difference in our homes, our communities and in our nation.  Full text