Archive for January 2014

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness participates in a statewide count of homeless individuals every January during the annual A Point in Time event.  During this count, agencies that work with the homeless population go out into the community and look within their own agencies to assess the number of people without a place to stay for the night.  This year Compass Center for Women and Families will be participating in the count.

As an agency offering domestic violence crisis services, Compass Center sees a variety of issues that come as a result of abuse including emotional distress, financial difficulty, and physical injury. During this time of year when the A Point in Time count occurs, we are reminded of one of the most pressing issues for some of our clients — homelessness.

When a victim of domestic violence manages to escape an abusive situation, it is often without the financial or social means to thrive on their own.  As part of the cycle of abuse, abusers often isolate their victim from friends and family, decide whether or not they can work, and control the finances.  Under these circumstances, a victim of abuse has few choices of where to go when leaving an abuser and is often forced into a state of homelessness to avoid returning to the abuser.

Women who leave an abuser without a stable place to go are also more likely to end up back with the abuser to avoid homelessness or end up in another abusive relationship because of their vulnerable state.  The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that 63% of homeless women have been victims of domestic abuse.  This number reflects how much domestic violence influences the lives of the homeless female population.

We must recognize the huge impact homelessness has on our community.  To do this we must look at the causes of homelessness and try and work towards change at the root of the problem. Whether that means preventing domestic violence, helping to treat those with persistent mental illness, or connecting clients to financial resources, Compass Center is a part of that effort in Orange County to help end the cycle of homelessness.

Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

1 in 3 women globally in 2010 experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. In 20 of 24 countries, most women tell no one they experienced violence. On average, only seven percent of women who experienced violence ever reported it to a formal source.

Early last month, The Daily Beast covered an alarming study on global gender-based violence. In this study assisted by Amber Peterman, of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Jennifer Bleck, lead researcher Tia Palermo reveals the silence and obscurity of gender-based violence. Around the world, gender-based violence is being overlooked, as victims fear coming forward, along with numerous systems that fail to protect women. Gender-based violence is any act of physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, whether occurring in public or in private, based on one’s gender.

“Women don’t trust the formal sector,” said Ravi Verma, director of the Asia Regional Office in New Delhi of the D.C.-based International Center for Research on Women. “The police system is deeply entrenched into the same notions of patriarchy and gender inequitable perspectives and women don’t feel comfortable that they will be heard or their report will be taken in the right spirit.”

Instead, women are more likely to turn to friends and family. Women have found that formal institutions don’t work in low-income or underdeveloped areas; therefore, they seek help from those they can trust.

Among the top reasons for women not reporting abuse were embarrassment, fear, a belief that disclosure was pointless, and the notion that women must endure violence because it is a normal part of life.

Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, we are here to listen and lend support.

For more information on this report, click here for The Daily Beast’s article.

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