Domestic Violence and Disabilities

Side view of woman with long dark hair and brown eyes wearing green sweater looking into the distance Violence against people with disabilities is a significant and overlooked issue. People with disabilities tend to experience more severe intimate partner abuse for longer periods. They are more vulnerable to prolonged abuse because they are often isolated from community, reliant on abusers for care, and face high barriers to getting help.

Women with disabilities are 40% more likely to experience domestic violence, while LGBTQ survivors with disabilities are two times more likely to be isolated by their abusive partner, three times more likely to be stalked, and four times more likely to experience financial abuse. These numbers are especially troubling, given that nearly one in four Americans has a disability.

Domestic violence as a cause of disability

A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. Not all disabilities are visible, and not everyone who has a limiting condition identifies as having a disability.

Survivors often experience disability because of abuse. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44. Anxiety, broken bones, PTSD, and other injuries can lead to disability. Traumatic brain injuries can leave survivors with debilitating symptoms like headaches, memory loss, and cognitive issues. Many traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed, but as many as 90% of survivors who experience physical violence sustain at least one head, neck, or face injury. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Disabilities”

Dating Violence and Prevention

Five teens talking and laughing while sitting outside on a brick wall

Dating abuse is a big problem in the U.S. One in 3 teens will experience dating violence, and 1 in 5 will experience severe physical violence from a dating partner. The numbers are even higher for LGBTQ youth. Young people who experience dating violence are more likely than their peers to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, engage in unhealthy or antisocial behaviors, and think about suicide.

The easiest way to stop dating or domestic violence is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Everyone can help prevent violence, including parents, teachers, clergy, coaches, friends, and family.

We put together three things you can do to help prevent dating violence.

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DV and Virtual Mental Health Services

Black woman with long braided hair wearing plaid shirt and sweater sits at a table looking at a notebook and laptop

A year ago, survivors seeking mental health support from LifeWire had several options—one on one therapy, music therapy, and support groups. When the pandemic closed LifeWire’s office, our mental health therapists immediately adapted to working with survivors online or by phone. The shift has come with its challenges and benefits for survivors.

Many survivors who reach out for therapy and support still live in homes that are not safe places. Some survivors have had to postpone therapy because they lacked safe spaces to talk. Therapists brainstorm with survivors about how and where to hold virtual sessions. For survivors, that can mean having a phone call instead of a video chat, sitting in their car instead of their home, or shifting their session to a time when they have the most privacy.

Virtual sessions can make it harder for survivors and therapists to build trust and safety. In-person sessions make it easier for the therapist and survivor to read each other’s facial and body language. They’re also held in a benign location away from the places where violence occurs. Technology can also be an issue, whether it’s accessing stable WI-FI or learning how to use new software.

Despite these challenges, remote therapy sessions and groups have added benefits. Transportation is no longer a barrier to making an appointment. Survivors also don’t have to worry about finding childcare. Most importantly, remote therapy helps survivors mitigate the isolation of coping with domestic violence and COVID-19.

Domestic Violence and Evictions

Paper copy of eviction notice on brown front door with brass door handle

COVID-19 and evictions

Nationally, one in three renters is at risk of eviction because of financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even during the best of times, domestic violence survivors, especially BIPOC women, face economic hardship and are vulnerable to eviction. Women who experience recent or ongoing domestic violence are more likely to face eviction than any other group of women. And Black women face evictions at least three times the rate of other survivors.

COVID-related layoffs, reduced hours, sickness, and the loss of affordable child care have made things worse. Survivors who can no longer afford rent are worried about becoming homeless when Washington’s eviction moratorium ends on December 31 {Update: now extended to March 31, 2021}. Thanks to flexible funds from local governments, foundations, and individuals, LifeWire has provided many survivors with rental assistance, reducing their chance of becoming homeless in the coming months. Even so, too many survivors will face eviction in 2021.

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DV and its impact on transgender survivors

Black trans woman with curly red hair wearing a pink sweater looks in a mirror and dries her tears with a tissue.

Every person, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, deserves to feel safe, respected, and loved in an intimate relationship

This week is Transgender Awareness Week, a time to raise the visibility of transgender people and address the issues they face. Transgender people are at high risk for abuse, with as many as 50% experiencing intimate partner violence at some point in their life. Like other survivors, they may be subject to emotional, economic, physical, and sexual abuse from their partners. Transgender survivors also face distinct abuse tactics and challenges accessing support.

Continue reading “DV and its impact on transgender survivors”