The Intersection of Poverty and Domestic Abuse
The claim is often made that domestic violence affects individuals in all social classes. The claim is often made that domestic violence affects individuals in all social classes. This assertion has been critical in raising awareness about domestic violence by reminding the public that wealth does not protect against victimization. At the same time, the data about domestic abuse come from samples to which researchers have greatest access, such as individuals who use social services, and these individuals are more likely to have low incomes or be living in poverty. As the recession that began in December 2007 worsened throughout 2008 and into 2009, many families saw their financial status plummet. Unemployment rates climbed to their highest levels since the early 1980s, the average length of unemployment reached its highest level since the federal government began tracking these data in 1948, and the number of home foreclosures rose steeply as well (Andrews, 2009; Goodman, 2009). At the same time, domestic violence agencies began reporting increases in the number of calls they were receiving for help from victimized women. Such reports show that among couples who report subjectively feeling high levels of financial strain, the domestic violence rate is 9.5% compared with 2.7% for couples who report subjectively feeling low levels of financial strain (Benson & Fox, 2004). In 2010, 40% of the agencies in the Police Executive Research Forum survey reported an increase in domestic violence calls; only two years, that number has risen to 56%. In addition, the police officers found a rise in domestic violence where the economy struggled. To state that economic stress equates domestic abuse...
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...ing exposed to communicable diseases, environmental toxins, and other environmental and situational hazards that negatively impact their health. And while those living in poverty are more likely to experience health problems, their lack of financial resources makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to obtain treatment or forces them to postpone seeking treatment until the condition is severe. Ill health affects one 's ability to work as well, in some cases precluding the possibility of obtaining jobs that provide health insurance benefits. Similar findings emerge from research on psychological and mental health. The “stresses associated with financial hardship [increase] the risk of psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety disorder, while DV victimization also elevates the risk of psychological health impairments” (Campbell & Lewandowski, 1997).
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