Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC) has released maps that display the reach of domestic violence throughout Cuyahoga County. The maps were created in partnership with Megan R. Holmes, Ph.D. of the Mandel School of Applied Sciences at Case Western Reserve University to debunk the myth that domestic violence only happens in inner city neighborhoods.
Although research shows that 1 in 4 women will experience physical abuse by an intimate partner in her lifetime, the fear and shame associated with domestic violence keep many from reporting it- and the community from making it a priority. Although factors such as poverty may increase the risk factor, suburban women can, and do, suffer the same trauma and harm as women in inner city neighborhoods.
The Prevalence Map displays the number of domestic violence incidents reported per household for each city in 2011. While the City of Cleveland expectantly has one of the highest rates, suburbs like Valley View, North Royalton and Olmsted Falls may be surprised by the map. As an example, a 3% household incident rate means in a neighborhood of 100 houses, 3 would have had a domestic violence incident reported to the police last year. Only a few cities, Bentleyville, Brooklyn Heights, Cuyahoga Heights and Newburgh Heights reported no domestic violence incidents in 2011.
The Silent Survivors Map estimates the number of female victims who suffer in silence based on The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report. This view may validate the theory that the shame and stereotypes associated with domestic violence can act as a barrier to reporting. Based on research, women in Westlake, North Olmsted, Strongsville and Cleveland Heights should have a much higher rate of domestic violence than is being reported.
Domestic violence is a public health, human rights, economic and generational issue. By lifting the veil of secrecy, DVCAC hopes to engage corporate and civic leaders, law enforcement, concerned citizens and the judicial system in finding innovative ways to support victims and raise societal expectations that domestic violence is not acceptable.
DVCAC provides emergency intervention as well as long term support for victims. More information can be found at the agency's website: www.DVCAC.org. Victims needing emergency assistance can call the 24 hour Domestic Violence Helpline: 216-391-HELP.