Maricopa County boosts domestic violence survivor resources with $15 million in federal funds

One in every three female murder victims and one in 20 male murder victims are killed by an...
One in every three female murder victims and one in 20 male murder victims are killed by an intimate partner, according to a report by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.( | Envato)
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:15 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- One in every three female murder victims and one in 20 male murder victims are killed by an intimate partner, according to a report by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

In the past year, Maricopa County has made a $15 million investment into domestic violence resources for survivors, bringing them directly into the community as opposed to survivors having to reach out to shelters for support. Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3, said, “Over the past year, we’ve provided domestic violence survivors with the support and resources they need to leave unhealthy and abusive situations. I’m proud of our efforts to care for some of our most vulnerable community members.”

So far, 31,913 families impacted by domestic and sexual violence have benefited from the funding by the following:

  • Emergency shelter and transitional housing to more than 1,967 individuals/families
  • Legal assistance to more than 841 individuals/families
  • Financial assistance to more than 133 individuals/families
  • Trauma-informed counseling to more than 211 individuals/families
  • Community-based employment and childcare services to more than 24,712 individuals/families

“The pandemic caused some victims of domestic violence to remain in unhealthy relationships or even dangerous households because they did not want to put themselves and their children at risk of contracting COVID-19 by living at a shelter where support services were traditionally centered,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “This systems change removes a big barrier since it has changed how and where support services are available, allowing survivors of domestic abuse to seek support services from community providers so they can put a plan in place to escape their abuser without requiring relocation to a shelter.”

The Office of Inspector General investigated the potential rise in domestic violence reports during the pandemic, and they found that the number of individuals that used the online chat to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline increased by 19%. The need for resources to access a protective or restraining order against an individuals’ abuser increased by 40%.

Domestic violence can include a variety of abusive and manipulative tactics, including physical, sexual, emotional and financial control. Approximately 40% of all domestic violence abuse victims delay leaving their abuser because they’re concerned with their pets’ safety. Experts confirm that often the most dangerous time during a domestic violence relationship is whenever a survivor tries to leave their current situation.

Sexual violence is just one aspect in which a person may be abused by their partner or family. Defined as any nonconsensual sexual act, sexual violence can include unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, non-contact sexual violence, sexual coercion, and rape. In the LGBTQ community, nearly half of all transgender individuals have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In economic impact alone, the lifetime cost of rape per victim is over $120,000, according to the Center for Disease Control. 90% of sexual harassment is not reported, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and anyone can be a victim regardless of their gender or sexual identity.

If you or someone you know needs help leaving an abusive environment or is seeking help because they are at risk, call the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Helpline Mondays through Fridays at (602) 279-2980 or text (520) 720-3383 or click here.

Help is also available nationwide at the following hotlines:

  • 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • 24 Hour National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • 24 Hour National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888