Domestic Violence and Healthcare Reform: Will the Abused Get the Help They Need?

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Are you surprised?  I would imagine that New Mexico is no different from many other places here in the U.S.

ABQJOURNAL NEWS/STATE: Domestic Violence Increases in N.M.

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:

Health-Care Costs Go Up, and Stay Up, for Abused Women

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.

6 Responses

  1. Thanks for this terrific information. Recently I severed a 15 year friendship with a person to whom I had been very close – another woman.

    In the last 3 years she had turned into a hypochondriac constantly seeking attention. When the amount of “pity” did not rise to her need level, she became antagonistic and was constantly probing for information about my personal relationships. These attributes seemed to increase dramatically each year.

    In reading the information, and knowing her past was abusive, now what had seemed increasingly bizarre and weird behaviors make more sense.

  2. […] of cocaine after checking a container ship in a container port in the southern Mexico state Domestic Violence and Healthcare Reform: Will the Abused Get the Help They Need? – 06/17/2009 By InsightAnalytical-GRL Are you surprised?  I […]

  3. While I’m sure the economy plays a part in this phenomenon, there is a more subtle (and less quantifiable) factor going on here. Last year’s election process took the limits off how women are treated, and every male at some level is aware of it. When society changes it’s mind about saying it’s not ok to mistreat women (ala Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and most members of the PUMA movement), then men who have been artificially stopped from abusing women (ie: I know I’ll be arrested or people will look down on me) will revert to their natural inclinations.

    [As a disclaimer here I’m obviously speaking of men who are predisposed to abuse women, although even some that would not do it physically might still be inclined to participate in verbal or psychological abuse again.]

    Of course this will remain anecdotal, because there will never be a government to determine if abuse has risen because of the current political climate or because of Barak Obama, but use your observational skills and start to pay attention to the subtleties of human interaction. If you’re being honest, you will see there has been a change in the workplace, in the family dynamic, and in cultural norms (TV, books, films, music, dress). It’s there, even if it hasn’t reached every single person yet, and it’s not going away any time soon. All you have to do is look at WWII Germany to see how quickly an entire nation can adopt or ignore horrific social standards that no one would have ever thought possible just a year or two earlier.

    Make no mistake, it’s coming fast and it’s here to stay. And it gets worse with every hajib that women are “allowed” to wear.

  4. Sorry – S/B “there will never be a government study to”

  5. Something that the umbrella term “domestic violence” shades is that the violence may be sexual. Many women are raped by their partners.

    I also believe that men have received the message very strongly in the last few years that it is okay to beat up women–and it is the woman’s fault. While long-term abusers have often always used emotional manipulation and convinced themselves that their victims were at fault, the popular culture in this country (and elsewhere) now says it is acceptable behavior.

  6. Both the primary and the general elections made it abundantly clear that any woman that thought she had the right to run for the highest office in the land would be slapped back in “her” place very quickly. The media was complicit with very few exceptions.

    By telling abusers and misogynists that it’s fine to attack and demean such women it made it quite all right to attack “all” women. The message was loud and clear.

    The recent push back by women and good men of conscience against David Letterman was a good start at letting these cretins know that we are not going to sit quietly while they continue their misogynist ways.

    Does anyone think the foul-mouther, misogynist Letterman would have apologized if not for over 10,000 letters and emails that CBS and his sponsors got?

    That was a nice little start. Now women and good men need to keep up the pressure on every misogynist cretin that opens his mouth and/or keyboard. And we need to smack down every enabling woman that makes excuses for them. If you ain’t part of the solution you’re part of the problem. As we used to say.

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