RESEARCH: Domestic Violence Rises Nationwide for Third Year While Economy Struggles; Government Budget Cuts Take Toll on Survivors and Shelters

Business Wire
Monday, April 25, 2011 - 20:00
North America
United States of America
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Initiative Type: 

Domestic violence shelters throughout the United States report the economy continues to significantly affect women – with domestic violence increasing for the third straight year and government cutbacks decreasing shelters' ability to help survivors. In addition to domestic violence incidents growing and funding sources diminishing, the abuse is reportedly more severe, victims are struggling to find jobs and shelters expect the situation will only get worse in light of the economy – according to the third “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse” national survey.

More than 670 domestic violence shelters across the country were surveyed in March 2011. Shelters report the economy's decline since 2008 has increased demand for their services, and they also note their shelters' ability to raise funds and provide services will be hampered over the next 12 months.Detailed findings from the 2011 “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse” survey reveal alarming trends in light of the economy's decline since 2008, including:

  • 80 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide (more than three out of four) report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse.
  • 73 percent of shelters attribute this rise in abuse to financial issues.
  • 48 percent of shelters link this increase in domestic violence to job loss.
  • 89 percent of domestic violence shelters expect their overall situation during the next 12 months will be worse than now, or the same as now, due to the economy.
  • 76 percent of domestic violence shelters (three out of four) indicate their funding has decreased the most from governmental organizations.
  • 65 percent of women in shelters can't find employment due to the economy.
  • 56 percent of shelters note the abuse is more violent now than before the economic downturn.
  • 77 percent of shelters (more than three-fourths) indicate their clients stayed longer in their relationships due to the state of the economy.

Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said: “The ‘Mary Kay Truth About Abuse' survey confirms for the third year in a row that the economy is affecting cases of domestic violence and the situation is becoming worse nationwide. While the economy does not create domestic violence, a downturn can exacerbate the frequency and severity of abuse. The demand for domestic violence services continues to increase significantly, yet at the same time, funding sources are down. We applaud companies like Mary Kay for stepping up and strongly urge others to do their part to help end domestic violence.”

Mary Kay's Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Programs

Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM have continually been leaders in domestic violence awareness and prevention programs. In response to these alarming survey findings, Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM are responding with the following programs in 2011:

Shelter Grants
The Mary Kay FoundationSM will award 150 domestic violence shelters $20,000 grants totaling $3 million. Applications for the 2011 grants are due by June 30, 2011. To date, the Foundation has donated nearly $25 million to women's shelters and domestic violence programs across the United States.

Beauty that Counts
In the United States, from Sept. 16, 2011, through Dec. 15, 2011, $1 will be donated from each sale of limited-edition* Beauty that Counts® Mary Kay® Creme Lipsticks in three shades. As part of this effort, in the United States, Mary Kay Inc. is proud to support The Mary Kay FoundationSM in its efforts to end domestic violence. Mary Kay has donated just under $4 million since 2008 from the worldwide sales of Beauty that Counts™ Mary Kay® Crème Lipsticks to causes that change the lives of women and children around the world.

Nature Explore Classrooms
Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM are building four new outdoor Nature Explore Classrooms at women's shelters in the United States. The Nature Explore Classrooms are outdoor learning spaces designed to allow the powers of nature to help children learn, play and heal from abuse. This program marks the first time Nature Explore Classrooms are being incorporated into a women's shelter. Mary Kay Inc. will have built 13 such classrooms by the end of 2011.Anne Crews, Mary Kay Inc. vice president of government relations and board member for The Mary Kay FoundationSM, added: “The survey results clearly identify the increasing need for supporting women and children affected by domestic violence nationwide – especially in a challenging economy. Mary Kay pledges once again to continue its commitment to preventing and ending this epidemic. For nearly 48 years, we've been true to our approach of doing well by doing good. And we will continue to stand on our promise to help change the lives of women and children in the United States and around the world.”

About The “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse” Survey

The third “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse” survey polled 672 domestic violence shelters across the United States about domestic violence and the economy since September 2008, a major turning point in the U.S. economy. The study was conducted online between March 14-30, 2011. Comprehensive 2011 survey findings summarize national and regional results. Mary Kay conducted its first nationwide survey of shelters in 2009 and second in 2010.

About Mary Kay

Mary Kay is one of the world's largest direct selling companies with more than $2.5 billion in annual wholesale sales worldwide. Mary Kay was founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash with the goal of helping women achieve personal growth and financial success. Mary Kay remains committed to enriching women's lives, and today more than 2 million people of all backgrounds are enjoying the advantages of being Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants. Mary Kay's high-quality skin care and color cosmetic products are sold in more than 35 countries around the world. To learn more about Mary Kay, visit

About The Mary Kay Foundation

The Mary Kay FoundationSM was created in 1996, and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue. Since the Foundation's inception, it has awarded nearly $25 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and more than $14 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States.