Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, MSCFV served 368 victims of family violence and their 461 children. With a total of 53 Hispanic clients and their 91 children received services from MSCFV. This represents about 15% of all clients. Most victims are between 26 and 45 years old, with an average age of 37. The majority (69%) have at least one child, and have a high school education (32%) or a few years of college (27%). Only 15 percent have a college degree.
The vast majority of family violence victims who come to MSCFV are women (94%). Three-fifths are Caucasian. African Americans account for another 16% and 14% of clients are Hispanic. Victims often face significant challenges related to limited financial resources. In fact, more than one-fourth (27%) have no income of their own at all. More than one out of ten has a physical or mental disability.
Most commonly, MSCFV clients experience abuse from their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. These relationships are often long-term, with 42% having lasted for more than 5 years. More than half of victims (54 percent) have left their abusive partner at least once before. Victims enter services with MSCFV after experiencing emotional and physical abuse. Half of all victims have experienced the most severe level of emotional abuse, to the point that they feel filled with fear and dread.
Most victims have also been physically abused. For 18% this physical abuse has resulted in serious injury. Fully 22 percent of victims have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of their intimate partner. We have found that this percentage has been increasing over the past few years.
MSCFV intentionally changed its service model to emphasize an intentional approach to walking with clients as they transition from family violence victims to self-sufficient survivor. MSCFV staff over the course of the year. During fiscal year 2016, staff provided these total of 352 hotline calls, 380 crisis counseling sessions 1,187 legal advocacy services, 511 legal counseling sessions, 81 Vine Protective Order referrals.
Measuring client outcomes is an important part of MSCFV’s program. Through client surveys and advocate assessments, the agency monitors if the services they provide are helping family violence victims plan for their safety, understand their rights and options, and take the next step in ending the violence in their lives. We also examine if the victim’s safety planning advances from short term to long term and how their perceptions of threat change over time. In this section, we report on client outcomes related to shelter stays, hotline calls, and ongoing counseling.
The majority of our clients have learned more ways to plan for their safety (82%), feel less isolated (53%) and feel better about themselves (65%). The majority (71%) have a better understanding of their legal rights. Most (71%) have learned about resources that can help them. Seven out of ten have a lower risk of violence.
MSCFV resources, their legal rights, and possible next steps for ending the violence. MSCFV advocates answered 352 hotline calls in Fiscal Year 2016. During these calls, most clients received assistance with safety planning (67%), information about MSCFV resources (76%), and advice on their legal rights and options (54%).
The most recent data available indicate that Maryland law enforcement officers responded to 24,630 domestic violence incidents in 2013. This includes almost 700 incidents in the five Eastern Shore counties of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot.
Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence (MSCFV) is a critical resource for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) victims on the Eastern Shore, providing crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, legal and transitional services. With the goal of helping survivors end the violence in their lives, the agency’s services span from crisis-focused hotline, advocacy, and shelter to longer term transitional housing, counseling, and legal services to education and prevention initiatives. Through these efforts, MSCFV strives to create healthy opportunities to break the cycle of domestic violence for victims and their children.