KCUR News
10:03 am
Tue February 17, 2009

Demand For Domestic Violence Services Increasing

Kansas City, Kan. – More people are turning to local sexual and domestic violence programs. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

The Kansas Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence says requests for services in both rural and metro parts of the state are at an all time high. Johnson County alone last year experienced a twenty percent increase in hotline calls and a ten percent rise in shelter requests.

No one factor accounts for the alarming increase, according to Sandy Barnett, who's executive director of the state coalition. She says the recent economic downturn is not a direct cause, but that it's played a role in exacerbating already abusive situations.

"If domestic violence has not been occurring, it is unlikely to begin at that particular point. But, where there is already a propensity or violence has already occurred, then additional stressors are used as an excuse for abuse. It is also the case that when there is no affordable and stable housing or jobs, then victims of domestic violence certainly feel more trapped because economic stability is one of the most important things for victims to be able to reach toward."

Barnett says successful community outreach efforts have also contributed to the growing request for services. She says programs across the country are experiencing similar trends.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Download recent health stories or subscribe to the KCUR Health Podcast