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Posted at 5:42 AM ET, 06/15/2010

N.Va. has state's lowest family violence

By Mike McPhate

A new state report provides a locality-by-locality breakdown of measures of family violence, and consolidates information about how violence affects a wide range of people from children to the elderly.

The report, released Tuesday by the Family and Children's Trust Fund, doesn't include new data. But it marks the first time Virginia has consolidated information about the occurrence of child abuse, domestic violence and other problems in one place in an attempt to boost state and local efforts to prevent and address such violence.

Although it's too early to draw conclusions based on the report, FACT executive director Fran Inge said the report provides a more complete picture of family violence and will serve as a baseline by which to measure trends and draw conclusions about how to combat family violence.

“Everyone can always tell you that family violence is interconnected and intergenerational,” Inge said. “There are many factors, all woven together.”

Violence at Home: The FACT Report includes statistics on indicators of family health and well-being that are connected with the prevalence of family violence, including percentage of population that lives below the poverty line, unemployment rates and the number of drug- and alcohol-related arrests. Other indicators show the extent of family violence, including reports of domestic abuse and neglect, domestic homicides of children and adults, and sex offenses against family members.

Among the state's eight major geographic regions, northern Virginia has the lowest levels of poverty, unemployment and drug and alcohol arrests, for example. In general, the region has the lowest levels of family violence, according to the data included in the report. Southwest and Southside Virginia, on the other hand, have the highest levels of family violence.

The report defines family violence as intentional psychological, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse or neglect directed at children, the elderly, spouses, or family members.

The General Assembly created FACT in 1986 as a public-private group that works to prevent and treat family violence. The group's board raises and distributes money for local community programs and statewide anti-violence campaigns.

-- Associated Press

By Mike McPhate  | June 15, 2010; 5:42 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Virginia  | Tags:  virginia  
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