Economic downturn leads to more domestic abuse in homes

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Unemployment in America is still high, sitting at 9.1%, but those lost jobs apparently have created more than just pain in people's pocketbooks. Experts say the economic down turn has lead to more domestic abuse.

"Are you in a safe place now?" Sheila Frampton asked over the phone.

Frampton knows the importance of that question all too well.

"It was about ten years," Frampton said.

Frampton says she suffered both physical and mental abuse from her then husband.

"He knew that he couldn't get away with punching me or kicking me, so he would find a way around that such as restraining me from leaving a room, which is physical violence, intimidating me," Frampton explained.

Frampton says she finally got help when her husband left, later filing for an order of protection and finally a divorce. But Frampton says during that journey, many times questions about how to protect herself were not answered. That led Frampton to become a legal advocate for domestic abuse victims at The Women's Center.

"I may not know the law like an attorney would but I have the heart and I have the passion for it and I know that I won't stop until I get the correct answers my clients are wanting," Frampton said.

But recently Frampton's received more calls for assistance with orders of protection. She says this month alone, she's had already had close to 20 inquires.

Meanwhile, Child Advocate Wendy McDaneil says the number of domestic abuse victims to visit her office is also on the rise.  Both say a major factor is the economy.

"Because of the budget cuts, we saw a lot of parents losing jobs, it affected the home, finically, emotionally and we saw a lot of mothers coming in because of domestic violence," McDaneil said.

But Frampton says once something like an order of protection is filed, then the real work begins.

"With the cycle of abuse, it always comes back unless help is gotten," Frampton said.

But as the number of victims increase, The Women's Center faces budget cuts and job loss.  In fact Monday, Frampton learned the federal dollars for her position had been cut.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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