Are you surprised? I would imagine that New Mexico is no different from many other places here in the U.S.
Authorities say domestic violence is on the rise in New Mexico, and the recession is likely to blame.
Prosecutors and police can only speculate about the cause of the uptick, but District Attorney spokesman Pat Davis said it’s easy to draw a line between the recession and the violence.
“There’s something new going on, and it certainly seems to correlate with the economy,” Davis said. “Our numbers sure show it.”
Fourteen percent more felony domestic violence cases were referred to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same time last year. Felony cases usually involve weapons or serious injury.
Davis said it seems likely that people feeling the economic pinch are buying alcohol and drinking at home instead of paying more for drinks at bars. Then after drinking at home, they are venting their financial troubles on family members.
The DA’s Office usually sees an increase in domestic violence from year to year, which Davis said they attribute to population growth and more victim awareness about how to report incidents. This year, however, the increase is much sharper than normal.
And as the health care debate begins, here’s an interesting bit of information about the specific health needs of women who are victims.
According to MedlinePlus from the National Institutes of Health:
Women who are physically or psychologically abused by their partners spend more each year on health care, even years after the abuse stops, a new report says.
The long-term study of more than 3,300 women in the Pacific Northwest revealed that women in ongoing abusive relationships spent about 42 percent more a year on physical and mental health-care services than did women not in abusive relationships.
Even those who had not been subjected to abuse in at least five years spent 19 percent a year more for health care than those who had never suffered abuse from an intimate partner, according to findings by a team from Ohio State University, the Group Health Cooperative, and the University of Washington in Seattle.
“Along with all the physical and emotional pain it causes, domestic violence also comes with a substantial financial price,” Amy Bonomi, an associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State and a co-author of the study, said in a news release from the university.
The study, which included data from 1992 to 2002, found that physically and psychologically abused women sought help from mental health services at least twice as often as women who were not abused, Bonomi said.
“This lends support to the idea that mental health providers should always ask women about their abuse history when they first come in for treatment,” she said.
I’m sure that in 2009 the price being paid is even greater…both physically and monetarily. I’m wondering how the types of care that are involved will be addressed very well in any “reform.” As it stands now, mental health costs are often paid at a LOWER rate than treatment for “physical” conditions.
About a year and a half ago, a National Census of Domestic Violence Services was conducted over a 24-hour period. Nearly 70% of identified domestic violence programs participated. Take a look at the National Summary and you’ll see how large the unmet need is…
Here are a couple sites which have rundowns on the on the scope of domestic violence here in the U.S.
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: Bernalillo County New Mexico, domestic abuse, domestic violence, economy, felony domestic violence, health care reform, MedlinePlus, National Census of Domestic Violence Services, National Institutes of Health, New Mexico | 6 Comments »