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Domestic violence up while economy flounders

When people are having money problems, sometimes that filters down into other aspects of their life. And, according to law enforcement officials, cases of domestic violence are no exception.

A national survey of law enforcement agencies shows that domestic violence is up and is likely a reflection of financial stress. In general police have been responding to more domestic violence calls, whether charges are pressed or not.

The study found that 56 percent of the 700 agencies that responded indicate that the sluggish economy is escalating incidents of domestic violence. That compares to 40 percent of agencies two years ago.

The president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline says the statistics are concerning. She says that financial problems appear to be "intensifying and escalating" domestic violence, according to the USA Today.

In one city, for example, aggravated assaults increased from 188 in 2010 to 234 the following year. Simple assaults also increased there. In another city, domestic assaults increased by 10 percent from 2010 to 2011.

A lot of it probably comes down to fear and stress. When people have big debts, lose their job or are under the threat of foreclosure, they are more likely to take out their frustration on domestic partners.

The survey was part of a review and examination of how the economy is affecting law enforcement by the Police Executive Research Forum. As the economy improves, theoretically there should be a decrease in domestic violence. Time will tell whether that holds true.

Source: USA Today, "Domestic violence rises in sluggish economy, police report," Kevin Johnson, April 30, 2012

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