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Expert: Uptick In Domestic Abuse Fueled By Financial Problems

By Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For the third year in a row, domestic violence organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area are reporting a rise in the demand of services.

A survey by the AllState Foundation found nine out of 10 programs in North Texas saw an uptick in need.

Most blamed the bad economy for straining already abusive relationships.

“I didn’t have any other resources, and I didn’t have any money,” said one victim, who asked not to be identified.

The woman said she tried to leave her boyfriend. She eventually returned because of the financial hardship, only to face more abuse.

“It got really bad, and I ended up in the hospital. I was, um, kind of disfigured. It was two months before I could even look in the mirror and see my face,” she said.

Domestic violence shelters say the more financially dependent victims are, the less likely they are to leave their abusers.

“They’re spending more time in the abusive situation. Things are progressing to a more lethal place, more physical abuse than we’ve seen traditionally,” said Catherine Olde, the director of crisis services at Safe Haven of Tarrant County.

She’s discovered that organizations that can help victims are also struggling to find enough resources to aid.

“The resources that are available to help people get on their feet – Texas Workforce and transitional housing programs – are being inundated,” she said.

The biggest spike has been in the number of hotline calls.

While Safe Haven has seen a 10 percent rise, the New Beginning Center in Garland reports a drastic 60 percent increase in calls since 2009.

During the holidays, they expect to receive even more than usual because of the added stress.

To seek help, call the National Hotline for Domestic Violence at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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