Friday, April 10, 2009

Costs of the Recession: Increases in Family Violence

The AP reports more anecdotal evidence that the economic stresses of the recession are taking a toll on families:

Some hospitals report seeing more than twice as many shaken babies as a year ago. Deaths from domestic violence have increased sharply in some areas.

Calls to domestic-violence hotlines have risen too, and more than half the callers said their families’ financial situation has changed recently.

Across the country, these and other signs point to another troubling effect of the recession: The American home is becoming more violent, and the ailing economy could be at least partially to blame.

The article points out that the evidence of incidence is almost all anecdotal.

Nationwide government data will not be compiled for months, so the evidence suggesting an uptick in child abuse and domestic violence has been largely anecdotal.

But the Child Welfare League of America, a coalition of public and private agencies, has been surveying state child welfare agencies to determine whether the numbers reflect a spike in violence.

"I think a lot of people are very concerned that we are in the early phases of this," said Linda Spears, vice president for policy and public affairs.

The need is also increasing:

Just as the need appears to be growing, the recession is drying up funding to many agencies that fight domestic violence.

"This period of time may well be our perfect storm: a struggling economy, an increase in stress and a decrease in funding of programs," said Fagin, the Long Island child abuse prevention advocate.

Interestingly, the economic downturn may also be responsible for a different kind of family impact: the New York Times reports on an uptick in vasectomies...

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