A survey conducted by Jane Doe Inc. Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence found that nearly 12,000 women and children were denied access to shelters in the state due to overcrowding and lack of resources. For every woman or child who was admitted into a Massachusetts shelter, at least three more were turned away.
Given these critical shortages, shelters have been forced to implement policies which restrict shelter stays to 90 and admit only the women and children who appear to face the most imminent danger.
The women who are denied access to domestic violence shelters often are forced into homeless shelters, which do not provide them with the security they need. Some homeless shelters refuse to accept women who have been abused, for fear that the abuser might attack other residents and/or staff.
The State of New York is facing similar shortages. In 1995, New York shelters accepted just 6,000 of the 11,000 families who desperately needed them.