Organizations detail local increase in domestic violence

October 18, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011

Local agencies assisting domestic violence and sexual assault survivors told King County Council members Monday to preserve funding for service providers as the number of people seeking assistance increases.

Representatives from human service organizations said domestic violence is on the rise in King County and throughout the nation.

On the Eastside, victims tend to underreport domestic violence and sexual assault.

The service providers cited reluctance on the part of more prominent or affluent domestic violence survivors to come for services due to shame, potential lack of income, and fear of embarrassing a partner and worsening the situation.

In addition, sexual assault survivors in many Eastside communities tend to use private therapists rather than nonprofit organizations for help to avoid reporting incidents to law enforcement.

Mary Ellen Stone, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center executive director, and Barbara Langdon, Eastside Domestic Violence Program executive director, briefed the council’s Committee of the Whole.

“What really troubles me is the trend of under-reporting,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said. “I’m extremely thankful for KSARC, EDVP and all our other local agencies for the good work that they do.”

County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed 2012 budget preserves funding for domestic violence, sexual assault and other human services programs.

“As a member of the Budget Leadership Team I’m also happy to see that funding will remain stable this year,” Hague said. “We need to come together as a community and continue the fight, even in these austere times, to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Eastside Domestic Violence Program is experiencing more frequent urgent requests on the 24-Hour Crisis Line for lifesaving services and shelter.

“A sexual assault crime which can profoundly impact the victim and her or his family,” Stone said. “Fortunately, the King County region has excellent services for survivors and a climate which encourages victims to seek help. It is critical that assistance for victims be maintained and expanded to meet the unmet need.”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed in October.

“We come before the King County Council oftentimes with bad news,” Langdon said. “But even with the all troubling statistics, there’s still a lot of good news out there.  Since 1982, EDVP has provided services to more than 109,000 victims of domestic violence. There are a lot of inspiring success stories out there.”

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