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Arkansas Domestic Violence shelters: Resilience in the Face of Multiple Challenges

Amber Overholser and Jennifer Kelton-Huff
JHHSA, Vol. 46 No. 1, 1-25 (2024)

Domestic violence occurs with far too much frequency, with an average of 24 people per minute being victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States (The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, n.d.). Domestic violence shelters are typically 501c3 nonprofits which provide services to victims fleeing violence. This paper explores how shelters within the state of Arkansas have exhibited resiliency over the course of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the 40% cuts required due to changes in the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), the primary source of funding for most shelters. Our findings reveal varied abilities to respond to these co-occurring stressors and found that contracting COVID-19, fears about closing, concerns over victims, and especially funding, weighed heavily on the minds of shelter staff. We also found that shelter staff who stayed were resilient, fully invested in their organizations and the clients they serve, and looking onward to the future.

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