California Domestic Violence Shelter Facts
- Many economic risks associated with domestic violence also disproportionately affect abused women, including homelessness, income decline upon separation, and financial dependency on partners.
The demand for emergency shelter is such that nearly one-third (30%) of domestic violence programs were regularly full and often exceeded their capacities in 2006-2007:
- At least 50% of urban shelters and 30% of rural shelters indicated more bed space would enhance their capacity to serve survivors.
- Programs have already experienced, and continue to anticipate, a “domino” effect whereby the already-high demand for their services increases when other social services and domestic violence programs in their regions are forced to scale back due to funding cuts.
While domestic violence programs in California appear to be providing shelter to fewer clients in recent years, the lengths of stay are increasing. Over half of victims stay one to two months (34 nights on average). In 2006, the average length of stay was the longest within the last six years.
- There are regional differences in the average lengths of shelter stays. Six years of data showed that larger and more urban regions tended to have longer shelter stays than smaller, rural regions.
- As clients' stays became longer, the number of people turned away grew. More than 7,000 victims (33% of those seeking shelter) were turned away each year because of capacity limitations, a rate that has been increasing.
- OES-funded domestic violence programs provided 216,695 clients with emergency food and/or clothing over the last six years, thereby meeting 83% of these requests.
- Domestic violence programs in California take great care to provide core services to survivors with special needs. In 2006-07, the majority of programs provided specific services for non-English speakers (82%) and undocumented immigrants (73%).
- Most domestic violence programs in California serve children who have been witnesses or victims of family violence. 70% of programs provided services to children other than counseling in 2006-2007. These services included childcare, academic tutoring, recreational activities, and supervised parent visitation for families involved with Child Protective Services.
- Of the average 15,000 people who are sheltered by OES-funded domestic violence programs each year, about half are adults (47%) and the other half are children (53%).
- Victims seeking services from OES-funded domestic violence programs over the last six years reported serious threats to their personal safety.
- Sixty-five percent (65%) of clients had a weapon used against them.
- Victims who turned to OES-funded domestic violence programs were more likely to have a weapon used against them than those reported in the law enforcement data (63% to 56%, respectively).
- Therefore this weapons-related data seems to suggest that victims served by local domestic violence programs may be among those facing great threat to their personal safety.
- Domestic violence victims in California, and especially those accessing service programs, were more likely to have incomes at or below $35,000 than the general population.
- Victims who sought assistance from domestic violence programs had lower rates of healthcare coverage and were more likely to be uninsured compared to their “counterparts” (i.e., victims throughout the state).
Although California’s domestic violence programs are performing well in an under-resourced landscape, they face several challenges. When asked in fiscal year 2006-07 to identify their biggest challenges:
- Sixty-seven percent (67%) reported challenges with funding being inadequate and unpredictable.
- Twelve percent (12%) reported challenges with insufficient sources of unrestricted funding.
- Just over a quarter (28%) of programs reported an operating deficit in the previous fiscal year, most notably related to decreased or stagnant grant funding.