The darkest side of the grinding recession is showing up in a spike in domestic violence, including a 37-percent increase in the demand for emergency shelter services across Florida, reports Florida Capital News. “It’s the worst I’ve seen in years,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon.The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence logged the increase at the state’s 42 certified domestic-violence centers from August through December.
“We know when perpetrators are laid off from work, there is increased severity in violence and frequency of violent assaults because he is home more often,” said the coalition. Bad economic times have a cascading effect on a complicated problem, said Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies at Florida State University. Victims are more likely to be trapped in a violent household when cash-strapped family and friends are unable to provide refuge. Social-service agencies, the victim of budget cuts, are also strained to the breaking point. It’s common for abusers to keep victims economically enslaved, seizing paychecks and denying all access to money. When that income shrinks during hard times, the victim becomes even easier to control, Oehme said.