DVAM Infographic Executive Summary
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a nationwide effort to raise public awareness of intimate partner violence (IPV). The Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium (DVAC) represents the five domestic violence confidential victim services providers in Santa Clara County: Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Community Solutions, Maitri, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, and YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley. DVAC is releasing this infographic and annual report to educate and raise awareness of the prevalence of intimate partner violence in our community.
This infographic and report reflect the collective data of services provided to adult and child survivors of intimate partner violence served by DVAC member organizations. Although, it is important to note that we offer a larger breadth of support services to the community, including gender-based violence support services for survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking. It is also important to remember these numbers only reflect survivors of intimate partner violence who have reached out for support and reported their information and outcomes. It is estimated that only 2.5%-15% of survivors report or seek help (Gracia, 2004). These numbers are not reflective of the unreported cases of intimate partner violence; they are merely the lowest estimate of violence in our county.
IPV Survivor Services
From July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, DVAC member organizations provided support services to 6,783 survivors, emergency shelter to 1,705 survivors, and housing assistance services to 2,098. Through our Consortium’s housing continuum, we provide housing assistance, which includes transitional housing, rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention. 2,098 survivors were served compared to the 1,705 survivors served through our emergency housing. Emergency housing is often the entry point to the housing continuum and connects survivors to a wider breadth of housing and support services (United Way Halifax, 2020). Support services include risk assessment and safety planning, support groups, therapy, legal and criminal justice advocacy, economic empowerment and flexible financial assistance, and more. Each of these services are provided long-term and ongoing as needed for each individual survivor and their family.
DVAC’s 24-hour hotlines are staffed by trained confidential advocates who provide risk assessment and safety planning, crisis counseling, emergency housing, and other services. From July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, we fielded 17,942 domestic violence crisis calls. In the same time period, the California Department of Justice’s Open Justice Data Portal reported 6,224 domestic violence calls to the police (2022). Collectively, we answered 2.9 times more hotline crisis calls
than calls to 911 for assistance. This demonstrates the high demand from the community for support outside the criminal justice system. There were 596 additional requests for emergency housing via our hotlines that were unmet due to shelter and hotel capacity. In addition to financial limitations to meeting survivor needs, our agencies are also facing capacity limitations due to understaffing and the high cost of living in this area.
Emergency Housing Statistics
We provided 21,917 bed nights of safety to the 1,705 survivors that accessed emergency housing. Of these, there were a total of 534 households; 48% with children and 52% single adult households. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides annual data on Area Median Income (AMI), which considers region, income, and family size. Of those that reported income, 100% of survivors across all household sizes have low, very low, or extremely low-income status based on the 2021 HUD AMI. Breaking it down, 89% of survivors reported extremely low income, 7% very low income, and 3% low income (18% did not report their income).
Of reported, 60% of households exited emergency housing to permanent housing (41% did not report their housing destination). Permanent Housing is defined by the Homelessness Prevention System as 6 months or longer. For the 60%, our data also includes survivors reporting that they were returning home once safe to do so or staying with family or friends. The other 40% consists of survivors who transitioned to another shelter, a hotel or motel, moved into transitional housing, or returned to their home and the person who harms. Four percent of survivors reported returning to the person who harmed them. On average, it takes seven attempts for a survivor to permanently leave the person who harms (Swadley, 2017).
IPV survivors who have low income and/or experienced financial abuse are particularly susceptible to the risk of homelessness, especially in our community where the cost of housing is so high (Aguirre, 1985; Swadley, 2017; California Housing Partnership, 2022). It is challenging for a family to survive on one income, and this is a strong factor for why survivors may return to the person who harms (Aguirre, 1985; Swadley, 2017). Funding for flexible rental assistance such as the Domestic Violence Housing First model and affordable housing for survivors of intimate partner violence would ensure adult and child survivors find safety from trauma and abuse, and prevent future violence. Regardless of why or whether a survivor decides to stay or return, the Consortium respects survivors’ autonomy and we acknowledge they are in the best position to determine the needs for themselves and their family. Our programs and services are based on a survivor-defined model, and they are free, confidential, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed.
Aguirre, B. E. (1985). Why Do They Return? Abused Wives in Shelters. Social Work, 30(4), 350–354. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/30.4.350
California Department of Justice Open Justice Data Portal. (2022). Domestic Violence Related Calls for Assistance [Data set]. https://openjustice.doj.ca.gov/data
California Housing Partnership. (2022). Santa Clara County 2022: Affordable Housing Needs Report. California Housing Partnership. https://1p08d91kd0c03rlxhmhtydpr-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Santa-Clara_Housing_Report_2022-AHNR.pdf
Gracia, E. (2004). Unreported cases of domestic violence against women: towards an epidemiology of social silence, tolerance, and inhibition. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 58(7), 536–537. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2003.019604
Swadley, R. L. (2017). Returning to Abusive Relationships: Related and Predictive Factors [Graduate Theses 3173, Missouri State University]. BearWorks. https://bearworks.missouristate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4183&context=theses
United Way Halifax. (2020, July 23). What is the housing continuum? United Way Halifax. Retrieved September 3, 2022, from https://www.unitedwayhalifax.ca/blog/what-is-the-housing-continuum/