Census: Vermont’s domestic violence services sometimes lacking

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(Host) A national census of domestic violence services provided over one 24 hour period last year shows that the number of requests in Vermont sometimes outstripped the services available.

The survey was conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and researchers from Harvard University.

On a single day in early November a nationwide count was conducted to determine how many people sought help for domestic violence.

Sarah Kenney of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says the census was a first.

She says it provides a clear picture of how many people asked for help in Vermont on one particular day.

“(Kenney) The goal was to collect a unique count of how many people were accessing services, so it’s unduplicated numbers that don’t have any identifying information about the individuals seeking support.”

(Host) Kenney says the survey shows 306 Vermonters sought domestic abuse support services over the 24 hour period.

There were 11 instances when the services requested couldn’t be provided. The majority of those cases involved requests for emergency shelter – and the shelters were full.

“(Kenney) They were all served in other ways, and I’m sure that the local shelters found other safe places for them to stay, but it really highlights the fact that the need has outpaced the resources in our local communities.”

(Host) Kenny says the survey points up the need for community support for domestic violence programs, which are frequently staffed by volunteers working with limited resources.

She says the results also show that domestic violence occurs in Vermont more frequently than many people realize.

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