The Reported Availability of U.S. Domestic Violence Services to Victims Who Vary by Age, Sexual Orientation, and Gender
Grassroots movements during the 1970s established several types of emergency services for battered women seeking to find refuge from or leave an abusive relationship. As time went by, the range of services offered by these agencies grew to include counseling, legal services, outreach, and other services, and battered women can now access over 2,000 domestic violence (DV) agencies throughout the United States for assistance. At the same time, these services have come under increasing scrutiny for their inability or unwillingness to provide their existing services to some populations of intimate partner violence (IPV) victims. In this article, we focus on DV agencies’ ability to provide their services to various populations that have documented evidence of being underserved due to their age, gender, and/or sexual orientation. We present information on the percentage of agencies that report being able to provide victim-related services to each of these groups. We also consider various regional, state, and agency characteristics that may predict the availability of services to these underserved groups. Overall, agencies report that adolescents and men are the least likely groups to which they are able to provide their victim services. Results are discussed utilizing a human rights perspective that stresses that all IPV victims, regardless of age, sexual orientation, or gender, should have access to services provided by DV agencies.