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Domestic Violence Study Examines Number of People Seeking Services

A new report shows that on one randomly chosen day last November, nearly 2000 adults and children in Missouri sought services to escape or recover from domestic violence. The Missouri report is part of a national study that provides a snapshot of how many people seek the services of domestic violence shelters and centers. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports on the study and how it relates to a local shelter.

The study comes from the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Harvard University researchers. They found that on November second, 2006, more than 200 victims of domestic violence were turned away from agencies in Missouri because the agencies did not have the resources to help them.

This does not surprise Pat Rieser, president and CEO of the Family Violence Center in Springfield.

Rieser says the Family Violence Center in Springfield receives about one third of its funding from the state.

The rest comes from federal grants and private donations.

The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is a Jefferson City-based advocacy organization for domestic violence shelters and their clients.

Lisa Weingarth is communications director for the group.

She says the study highlights the need for additional state funding for domestic violence shelters.

Weingarth says it's all too common that adults and children are turned away from shelters that are full.

She says in those cases, there are few good options for the victims of domestic violence.

The Family Violence Center in Springfield can accommdate up to 100 women and children.

The center's executive director, Pat Rieser says the shelter routinely stays full.

Those who designed the study chose to do a one-day survey to find out the number of adults and children seeking help and protection from domestic violence. They say this approach ensured the anonymity of clients who often fear for their lives and want to keep their locations secret.