Disturbing fact Latinas should know: domestic violence rises in a poor economy

The floundering economy in recent years has had numerous harmful consequences, from long-time employees losing their jobs and new college grads being unable to find work to more bankruptcies and foreclosures.  But apparently it's also spawned another, even more disturbing pattern. A new police report has concluded that in 2011, the bad economy caused a significant increase in domestic violence.  

After 700 law enforcement agencies from across the country were polled, 56 percent of them agreed that they had seen a rise in domestic conflicts--much more than the 40 percent that came to the same conclusion in a similar survey in 2010.


Though the cause of the growing trend is not specified, there is one likely culprit: an extremely high stress level. "When stresses in the home increase because of unemployment and other hardships, domestic violence increases. We see it on the street," said Scott Thompson, Police Chief of Camden, New Jersey, a town which has also seen a definite rise in domestic incidents.

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So why exactly does this matter for Latinas? When it comes to getting professional help for domestic abuse, Hispanic women often face additional challenges, like a language barrier or in the case of immigrants, fear of deportation. And then there's also the fact that many Latin women are accustomed to a culture where family is the central element--which makes them less willing to separate themselves and their loved ones from a relative or partner, even when they're causing harm.

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The news is disturbing in more than ways than one but perhaps the scariest part of the whole thing is that the longer the economy remains in this poor state, the more likely it is that people will continue to move into dangerous stress territory.  Hopefully, these findings will help spur our government into getting its act togetherand focusing less on party lines and more things that matter (like, you know, creating jobs!).

In the meantime, keeping aware of these trends and taking preventative precautions  (like maintaining a budget, communicating with your partner, and seeking therapy if necessary) is absolutely necessary in today's difficult times --and can help ensure that you and your family don't become part of the pattern.

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