Domestic violence numbers ‘tip of the iceberg’

The news: This October marks the 24th annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Behind the news: In Chicago, more than 12,600 people received domestic abuse services from state-funded programs in 2010, according to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

People of different ethnicities and races sought services at slightly different rates. Hispanics received the services at the rate of 53 per 10,000 people, while white people, African Americans and Asians sought help at the rate of 44, 46 and 48 per 10,000, respectively.
To Dawn Dalton, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, these numbers demonstrate that domestic violence is happening everywhere.

“Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate,” Dalton said. “Any demographic check box that is available, you’ll find domestic violence happening there.”

She added that the numbers don’t tell the whole story of domestic violence because there are still women who don’t seek help or don’t report abuse.

“What we do know about the statistics that we do have available to us—it’s the tip of the iceberg,” Dalton said. “There’s a lot more going on in reality for victims of domestic violence. Because it is an issue that’s looked at as something people don’t want to address … it makes it difficult for victims to be able to come out and say I need assistance.”

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