The Domestic Violence Industry:
Our Nation’s Newest Welfare System
Over the past 15 years the domestic violence industry has transformed itself into a back-door welfare system marked by loose definitions, non-existent eligibility criteria, open-ended benefits, and dysfunctional policies.
As a result, the true victims of domestic violence are being shortchanged and their lives endangered.
These days almost anything counts as “domestic violence.” According to the DoJ Office of Violence Against Women, domestic violence now includes:
“a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.”
When you define domestic violence so vaguely and broadly, nearly everyone becomes a victim.
Non-Existent Eligibility Criteria
Abuse shelters openly advertise that “no proof of abuse is needed.”
No surprise, our shelters are now filled with homeless and drug-abusing women — while real victims are turned away at the doorstep.
False Allegations Widespread
Once you are classified as an abuse “victim,” a wide range of welfare entitlements become available, including free legal help, subsidized housing, and preference in family courts. Immigrants move to the front of the line for a Green Card and U.S. citizenship.
And false allegations become commonplace.
Each year the Violence Against Women Act spends $56 million for mandatory arrest and prosecution programs. Such policies place victims’ lives at risk.
According to a Harvard University study,
“in states with mandatory arrest laws, the homicides are about 50% higher today than they are in states without the laws.”
The federal government spends $1 billion a year on domestic violence programs. Taxpayers would complain if they knew this money was going for a de facto welfare system that places victims’ lives at risk.
So the domestic violence industry resorts to a series of half-truths and urban legends. According to a recent report, only one in 10 abuse education programs provides information that is accurate and truthful.
The 2011 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act offers a historic opportunity to turn things around and give first priority to true victims.
The VAWA reauthorization needs to tighten up definitions, require proof of violence (or credible evidence of impending violence), assure services go to those in greatest need, stop mandatory arrest and prosecution policies, and require accreditation of abuse training and education programs.