Local News

Troubled economy linked to increase violence in Nash Co.

Posted September 23, 2008 6:10 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2008 7:08 p.m. EDT

— Nash County officials say they believe the troubled economy is to blame for an increase in domestic violence cases.

"What we're seeing is an increase in child protective services reports, often around domestic violence, substance abuse and sexual abuse," said Laura O'Neal, director of Nash County's Department of Social Services.

Recently, child protective services handled as many as 90 cases of possible abuse a month. Social workers investigated 25 in the first seven days of September.

"When those numbers jump, it is very stressful for our staff," O'Neal said.

Meredith Holland, who heads My Sister's House, a shelter and support program for victims of domestic violence, says the number of people taking out protective orders is also increasing.

"If there is violence in the home, you add additional stressors, whatever they are, and that can certainly exacerbates everything," Holland said.

And, she says, tough financial times can make it more difficult for victims of abuse to leave.

"What we're seeing is women who leave have a more difficult time in getting services and getting help and finding jobs," Holland said.

O'Neal says acknowledging a correlation between economic trouble and violence is an important first step.