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Lingering economic malaise drives domestic violence incidents

Police departments in virtually every locale across the country -- Miami and Florida in general not excepted -- are reporting that acts of domestic violence were up last year from episodes reported in 2010.

As many people might reasonably ascertain, it's the economy, pure and simple, with one police chief noting that it is "impossible" to separate growing domestic problems from the persistent economic turmoil that surrounds many families.

"When stresses in the home increase because of unemployment and other hardships, domestic violence increases," says Camden, New Jersey, Police Chief Scott Thomson, who adds that, "We see it on the street."

Police departments, social workers, child abuse advocates and domestic abuse shelters across the country note that an economy that is stubbornly underperforming for many is the underlying catalyst for statistics evidencing a clear upward spike in incidents of domestic conflict.

A survey of 700 responding police agencies from across the United States reveals, for example, that domestic violence nationally is up about 16 percent within the past year. Filed police reports indicate that money issues fuel many arguments and much violence, with more assaults than in prior years being noted in residential communities.

Continuing financial concerns -- including prolonged unemployment for many -- reflect "an added stress that can push people to the breaking point," says Katie Ray-Jones, the president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

A firmly improving economy, say experts, would go far toward reducing tensions in many families and dramatically reducing incidents of violence and abuse.

Source: USA TODAY, "Domestic violence rises in sluggish economy, police report," Kevin Johnson, April 30, 2012

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