2011 Massachusetts Studies
Massachusetts was a participant in three national studies in 2011. These three independent reports singularly and collectively validate the effectiveness of sexual and domestic violence services. The Commonwealth should feel quite confident that public as well as private funds are well spent. We are very proud to share this evidence that our members are saving and changing lives and making a difference every day.
National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has provided updated information about the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence in the lives of Massachusetts residents: nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men in Massachusetts have experienced sexual victimization other than rape; nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in Massachusetts have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. More than 1 in 7 women in Massachusetts were raped. The survey also confirmed that women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking; while men are also affected by violence at alarming rates.
Domestic Violence Counts: National Census of Domestic Violence Services
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) collects data through an annual 24-hour census of services requested from and delivered by domestic violence programs throughout the country. In Massachusetts, 56 programs reported providing services to a staggering 1,799 adults and children on that one day in September 2011. However, on that same day, these programs reported 479 unmet requests for services. Over 66% of these unmet requests for services were for domestic violence emergency shelter and housing. While not part of this study, JDI notes that nearly 12,000 hotline calls were answered by sexual assault programs during FY11.
Domestic Violence Non-Residential Services Study
The Domestic Violence Non-Residential Services Study measured survivors’ experiences at local programs. JDI was one of 4 state coalitions selected by the Research Project administered through the National Institute of Justice. Survivors receiving support and services from community-based organizations responded to multiple blind survey instruments.
After seeking and receiving help, 95 percent of survivors reported being more knowledgeable about planning for their safety and more hopeful about the future.
The importance of being hopeful is more than just feeling good. The measure of hopefulness about the future is considered the foundation of recovery from traumatic experiences according to the U.S. Government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The fact that 95% of survivors indicated that they feel more hopeful about their future is a clear indicator of domestic violence programs’ positive and powerful impact on the lives of survivors.
Survivors reported seeking 54 different types of services and supports from local domestic violence programs. This fact speaks both to the wide range of skills and expertise available at local domestic violence programs and the complex needs of survivors/victims seeking help. The report also points out the high demand for culturally-specific programming, support for children, substance abuse, mental health, and economic supports.
An overwhelming majority also indicated that the help received they knew more about their rights and options, knew more about community resources, felt they would achieve their personal goals, and be more confident in making decisions.
As one participant commented, “The abuse was financial and emotional by an ex-partner who is clergy and with whom I share custody of our child. This complicated my capacity to needs and the sensitivity and clarity of the advocate worked with made all the difference in the world. Moved from experiencing this person as a vicious and dangerous person to an irritant I can and need to protect myself from. In addition, while I would have liked to be rescued by the advocate – e.g, to be told what to do – the strategy of providing information and listening enabled me to assume responsibility that ultimately makes me safer and stronger.”
View the Massachusetts section of the report.
 www.vawnet.org/Research/Meeting SurvivorsNeeds. Non-Residential Domestic Violence Services: Survivors Experiences: Massachusetts Overview