Domestic Violence in Philadelphia
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.