The numbers are staggering — and sobering.
In 2011 the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) reported that local domestic violence programs throughout the United States helped an average of 67,000 victims a day. In Maryland alone, 545 phone hotline requests for help were received every day, which averages out to around 22 calls per hour. Also in Maryland, 866 victims of domestic abuse are served in domestic violence programs each day. And who knows how many crimes go unreported?
Domestic abuse is a heinous, often recurring crime that severely affects spouses and children and can have long-lasting physical, emotional and psychological consequences. And sadly, even though they have made great strides during the last several decades, women continue to be the primary victims of domestic violence. Consider these statistics:
- 1.3 million women are abused annually.
- 85 percent of domestic abuse victims are women.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than automobile accidents or injuries suffered on the job or at home.
- Women ages 20-24 are at the great risk.
- 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually.
There are no justifiable reasons for domestic abuse and violence. And yet for any number of reasons, all of which are bad, a spouse, usually a woman, may submit to abuse sustained over time with the hope that her partner will change and her domestic situation will get better. However, things seldom do get better. Battered spouses need to extricate themselves from abusive situations and can do so with the help of the police, shelters, counseling services and an experienced family law attorney.