PODCAST: Economic supports as a pathway to violence prevention

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman

(OHIO NEWS CONNECTION) – Economic supports could be the key to reducing intimate-partner violence, which claims the lives of dozens of Ohioans each year.

Research from the Ohio Domestic Violence Network showed during times of financial insecurity, people are at a higher risk of violent behavior.

Rebecca Cline, director of prevention for the Network, explained individuals are targeted for intimate-partner violence, often because they are marginalized and made vulnerable by oppressive systems.

“High rates of poverty, high rates of unemployment, high rates of social disorganization,” Cline outlined. “All of those things contribute to conditions that create additional risks for violence perpetration and victimization.”

Cline also pointed to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report which found a nearly five times greater firearm homicide rate in counties with the highest poverty levels, and it mentions economic supports as a pathway to gun-violence prevention. Data show 4.5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.

The research suggested strengthening economic supports for families by expanding access to affordable child care, health care, transportation and housing, making the Ohio Earned Income Tax Credit fully refundable, and raising wages.

Cline pointed out a minimum-wage worker in Ohio earns less than $20,000 a year, but a single parent of two needs nearly four times as much to earn a living wage.

“$76,000 a year,” Cline asserted. “And that’s to be able to afford housing, transportation, child care and all the other things a family needs to live sustainably and efficiently instead of in scarcity. “

She emphasized policies can be most effective with a holistic approach, bringing local and state partners together.

“The smarter we get about our prevention work, the more evidence that begins to emerge about where we need to go, the more promising our prevention work will be,” Cline stated. “And it’s long-term work.”

Cline added measures to improve community connectedness can reduce violence, which can be as simple as picking up litter or planting flowers. Individuals can also talk to their elected leaders about policies to help reduce violence.

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