The Daily Grind Video
CLOSE

Would you agree that there is a correlation between the increases in domestic violence as the economy tanks?

No doubt news of the Grammy-award night incident between performers Chris Brown and Rihanna has crossed your view – that is unless you’re living under a rock, and that’s a real possibility these days with all the foreclosures, but that’s another issue.  

If not, Brown, an R&B and pop musician, stands accused of assaulting his girlfriend, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, also an R&B and pop performer, better known to her fans as Rihanna. The incident caused a last minute bow-out of the Grammy Awards show for the couple.

While the news has been sketchy about the details, the incident a familiar one to many, famous or not.

Across the country, this and other signs point to another troubling effect of the recession: The American home is becoming more violent, and the ailing economy could be at least partially to blame. Some hospitals report seeing more than twice as many shaken babies compared to how it was a year ago. Deaths from domestic violence have increased sharply in some areas.

Calls to domestic-violence hotlines have risen too, and more than half the callers said their families’ financial situation has changed recently.

Fresno Bee once reported that “shelters for abused women are full and domestic-violence hotlines are busy as the bad economy takes a devastating toll on families in the San Joaquin Valley.”

Some of the victims are coming from a demographic group the shelters don’t ordinarily see: middle- to upper-income women whose livelihoods have been shattered by plunging stock prices and ballooning home-mortgage payments.

The link between the economy and domestic violence is clear, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said, and she expects violence to increase as more families struggle to pay their bills.

‘As a former domestic-violence investigator and sergeant of the domestic-violence team, I can tell you money was one of the common arguments that would lead to violence in the home,’ Mims said.

Nationwide government data will not be compiled for months, so the evidence suggesting an uptick in child abuse and domestic violence has been largely anecdotal.
But the Child Welfare League of America, a coalition of public and private agencies, has been surveying state child welfare agencies to determine whether the numbers reflect a spike in violence. However, how could this agency justify the recent family sui cidal killings that are reported to be financial related?  Two of these crimes happened in the past couple of months.

Eighty-eight percent of law enforcement officials surveyed nationwide believe the economic crisis has led, or will lead, to more child abuse and neglect, according to top police officials from Los Angeles, Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia who recently held a news conference in Washington.

Money problems don’t cause domestic violence — and they’re no excuse for it — but tension created by financial insecurities does trigger attacks, domestic-violence experts say.

Tempers often flare when unfamiliar situations occur, including long-term unemployment, lack of income and other situations that come with a downward spiraling economy. Disturbances may be infrequent or occur regularly, but they do not have to be a way of life.

-Mikay Rocha