Internet Safety

Domestic Violence in Philadelphia

Safe Shelter

Women Against Abuse operates two 100-bed emergency safe havens for women and children who have had to flee their homes to escape from domestic violence. These are the only domestic violence shelters in Philadlephia, and they are consistently at full capacity. The need for safe haven far outpaces demand, with 15,751 requests for safety turned away in Fiscal Year 2015 - a 28% increase in turn aways over the year before. When the safe havens are full, counselors work with shelters throughout the city and domestic violence shelters in neighboring counties to help victims find safety.

 

Calls for Help

In fiscal year 2015, the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline received 14,661 calls for assistance with domestic violence issues - a 50% increase over the year before!

Each year, the Philadelphia Police Department receives more than 100,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls that are domestic in nature.

 

Domestic Violence Homicides

In the past eight years, there have been an average of 24 homicides each year in Philadelphia.

  • 2007: 30
  • 2008: 21
  • 2009: 36
  • 2010: 30
  • 2011: 24
  • 2012: 24
  • 2013: 17
  • 2014: 18
  • 2015: 19

To address the jump in domestic violence homicides in 2009, WAA collaborated with Women’s Law Project, the Philadelphia Police Department and key community partners to ensure that high-risk victims of domestic violence receive follow-up support after a critical incident. 

 

Philadelphia Family Court

Each year, approximately 12,000 petitions for Protection From Abuse Orders are filed in Philadelphia Family Court.

Domestic violence affects individuals from all backgrounds, genders and socioeconomic statuses. 

For many, however, domestic violence intersects with poverty, homelessness and job instability that significantly limits victim’s abilities to escape abuse. 

In Philadelphia, lack of affordable housing, widespread poverty and high rates of community violence result in insurmountable obstacles for adults seeking long-term and sustainable safe living situations. Individuals experiencing domestic violence are also more likely to experience under- or unemployment due to the cycle of power and control implicated in domestic violence dynamics.

  • Employment and Domestic Violence: The impact of domestic violence, which may include physical, emotional and financial abuse, significantly limits a victim’s potential earning power. In one study assessing barriers to employment resulting from domestic violence, 85% of victims reported that their abuser kept them from sleeping; one-third reported that their abuser withheld transportation at the last minute; and one-third were beaten to the point that they could not work.
  • Poverty and Domestic Violence: Although domestic violence impacts individuals from all backgrounds, the need for domestic violence services in Philadelphia, the poorest major city in the country, is particularly pronounced. Poverty disproportionately impacts minorities, single mothers and children — compared with a citywide poverty rate of 27%, 31% of African Americans, 41% of Hispanics, half of single mothers, and one in three children live in poverty. Abused individuals in poverty experience the greatest difficulty in gathering the resources to seek safety.
  • Housing and Domestic Violence: With limited financial resources, victims are forced to navigate difficult choices, particularly if they have children. Often, the only alternative to abuse is homelessness. On an average night, 250 homeless individuals in Philadelphia self-report as victims of domestic violence.
  • Trauma and Domestic Violence: Due to fear, isolation and stigma, victims may only come into contact with city systems and domestic violence service providers once violence has reached a crisis point — when interventions are costliest and least effective. Early intervention and prevention, in addition to emergency measures, make up a critical component of the continuum of services that Women Against Abuse offers.

Due to fear, isolation and stigma, victims may only come into contact with city systems and domestic violence service providers once violence has reached a crisis point—when interventions are costliest and least effective. Early intervention and prevention, in addition to emergency measures, make up a critical component of the continuum of services that Women Against Abuse offers.

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Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Pro bono representation provided by local law firms makes a meaningful difference for the thousands of clients seeking help at our Legal Center.

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Allison’s Story

Allison’s Story

Allison* cringed at her reflection in the mirror as she gently dabbed concealer over the bruises circling her eye.

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Lucia’s Story

Lucia’s Story

Lucia* came to the WAA emergency shelter pregnant and with five children.

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Verizon’s Story

Verizon’s Story

A valued corporate partner, Verizon has been committed to empowering survivors of domestic violence in Philadelphia through HopeLine by Verizon.

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Beth Huffman’s Story

Beth Huffman’s Story

When a survivor's child was in trouble, Beth Huffman helped organize a press conference to get the story out on behalf of Women Against Abuse's Legal Center.

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Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of SofterWare, Inc., recently provided a challenge match through the Schoenberg Family Charitable Fund as an incentive to help Women Against Abuse gain new monthly donors.

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Alyssa’s Story

Alyssa’s Story

Alyssa* had been living with her parents and was restricted to a wheelchair due to under-developed limbs.

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Renee’s Story

Renee’s Story

Renee Norris Jones experienced 7 years of domestic violence at a time when few resources existed to help victims escape abuse.

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William’s Story

William’s Story

William Spratley flicks through the text messages on his phone until he finds the one he’s been looking for. It’s from his 27-year old daughter, Ameya, and it’s the last words he will ever exchange with her.

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Justine’s Story

Justine’s Story

Justine got to know Eric in college, while working part time at a Virginia-based home improvement store. They began casually dating in 1999, eventually marrying in May of 2006. Looking back, her sister, Lauren, can see the red flags.

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If you or someone you know needs help, call our toll-free 24-hour Hotline:

1.866.723.3014

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