Domestic Violence, Poverty, and Social Services: Does Location Matter?


  • *Direct correspondence to Andrea Hetling, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 33 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901 〈〉. The corresponding author is willing to share all data and coding information with anyone wishing to replicate the study. This research was partially funded by the University of Connecticut Faculty Large Grant Program. The authors thank Scott Allard and Judy Postmus for their very helpful comments and Shane Van Housen and Yan Zhao for research assistance. Gary Lopez of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety and Linda Blozie, Lisa Holden, and Gerrie Wilde of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence facilitated access to the data and patiently answered questions. All omissions and errors are the authors' own.


Objective. This study investigates whether or not domestic violence agencies are located in areas of need. Recent research indicates that community economic disadvantage is a risk factor for intimate partner violence, but related questions regarding the geographic location of social service agencies have not been investigated.

Methods. Using Connecticut as a case study, we analyze the relationship of agency location and police-reported domestic violence incidents and assaults using OLS regression and correcting for spatial autocorrelation.

Results. The presence of an agency within a town has no relationship with the rates of domestic violence. However, regional patterns are evident.

Conclusion. Findings indicate that programs are not geographically mismatched with need, but neither are programs located in towns with higher rates of incidents or assaults. Future research and planning efforts should consider the geographic location of agencies.