Hard Times, Hurting Families

Vicki Craig
Vicki Craig
Family Support Services Director Janet Byars
Family Support Services Director Janet Byars

Tough economic times are stressing families out and in some cases, a lack of cash is putting partners on the brink of violence.

Local domestic violence advocates say the number of victims in need of services is rising.  Some blame hard financial times. Others say, behavioral problems are to blame for prompting a jump in domestic violence. While there are many factors as to why people become abusive, advocates say, no excuse is good enough.

Family Support Services Director Janet Byars has heard all the factors. "Baterrers use financial isolation and control... to control their partners that can contribute that (abuse). They feel like they are losing control. Then the acts of violence escalate." Byars said.

One victim, Vicki Craig who knows all about abuse and the struggle to survive is reaching out to others, whether money is a factor or not. "It has an effect it stresses them out. If you can't pay your bills. You want a beer and you can't buy some. It stresses people, so it does have an affect and it's absolutely a cop out," Craig said.

If it's not the money that sparks abuse, it's one reason some stay in an abusive relationship.

Byars said, "They get stuck in these situations without options and financial resources. They have harder time staying away and becoming independent.

That is one reason Vickie says she went from victim to advocate. "Once the shock was over I was relieved the abuse was over. And I had to work on that for many years," she said.

Working to make sure the cost of abuse does not spill over into the community. "The high risk behavior mental health issues the hospital trips all of this cost our community," Craig said.

If you're concerned you may be a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, you can call the Amarillo Crisis Hotline at 374-life (5433)