Who We Serve
Many of the women and children who live at Magdalena House have experienced extreme violence, abuse and exploitation. Their circumstances have had profound medical, psychological and social consequences. Families of abuse find themselves trapped in their situation without the social networks, financial resources, education and job skills needed to leave their abusers. Persistent, long-term abuse and violence leads to the breakdown of the family unit with the abuser often in prison and the mother unable to effectively care for her children. The financial burden on the criminal justice system, public welfare system and nonprofit organizations providing charitable services cannot be measured accurately but is unquestionably substantial. The cost of health care to victims of domestic violence alone is estimated to be $8.3 billion annually, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Various studies have shown that as many as 33% of all women have experienced violence from an intimate partner at least once during their lives. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical violence, threats of violence, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation and sexual abuse. Women ages 20 to 34 are at the greatest risk for violence. Pointing to a cycle of abuse, an estimated 81% of male batterers were themselves victims of abusive fathers. Over 189,000 cases of family violence—including 86,900 cases involving married and unmarried partners—occurred in Texas in 2007, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Just last year the San Antonio Police Department responded to nearly 3000 calls per month.
Victims of Human Trafficking
According to the U.S. State Department, an estimated 14,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. from abroad each year. Approximately 70 percent are female and up to 50 percent are minors. Research conducted by the University of California at Berkeley found that almost half of foreigners held against their will in the United States are forced into prostitution. Magdalena House has been a member of the South Texas Anti-Trafficking Coalition since its inception. We serve as a social service provider for victims of this most heinous crime by providing long-term relationships long after trials and prosecutions have ended, helping them begin life again.
Child Abuse Reunification Referrals
San Antonio’s Child Protective Services refers a portion of their Reunification Cases to the Magdalena House. Reunification is the process and effort of family preservation. In 2008, there were 281,000 alleged cases of child abuse and neglect. Over 25% of those were confirmed cases of abuse, and in 4% of the cases children were removed from the home. The remaining cases were assigned as Reunification cases. We know that change takes time. The Center for Public Policy reported in December 2009, “Poverty is a consistent predictor of abuse and neglect. Children in families with an annual income of less than $15,000 are 14 times more likely to be abused and 44 times more likely to be neglected than children living in families with an income of $30,000 or more.”