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NEWS | Oct. 1, 2014

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month

By Karen Harrison Family Advocacy Intervention Specialist

During the month of October, the Family Advocacy Program across all branches of military services worldwide conduct awareness campaigns to educate service members, their families, military leadership and the community on the impact of domestic violence and to inform them of the assistance available through FAP, the Fleet and Family Support Centers; Airman and Family Readiness Centers and Military One Source.

FAP is a military-wide program created in 1976 by the Department of Defense to treat and prevent child abuse/neglect, and in 1978 the domestic violence module was added to the program.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over a spouse or intimate partner through fear and intimidation. It often includes threats or use of violence.

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Approximately 1.3 million women in the United States are physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. Based on reports, approximately 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. However, men are also victims of domestic violence. Historically, females are most often victimized by someone they know.

Domestic violence does not only impact adult lives ... it also affects children, even if they are not direct victims of the abuse themselves. Many children in the homes witness these attacks; thus, they become victims themselves.

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem that transcends all ethnic, racial, gender and socioeconomic boundaries, and it will not be tolerated in the Department of Defense. For many victims, the home, that very place meant to be a safe and secure haven, is often the most dangerous place for them. Domestic violence destroys individuals, ruins families and weakens our communities.

This year's Family Advocacy's Theme is "Relationships should be Respectful, Safe and Positive."

The Secretary of Defense, Jessica Wright, said, "Domestic violence is unacceptable in the culture of dignity and respect fostered by the adherence to the professional values of the Armed Forces."

Wright urges commanders and leaders to support service members and their families by modeling and promoting healthy, respectful family relationships and advocating for early use of a wide range of available counseling resources.

When domestic violence is reported, commanders and leadership play an important role in victim protection and holding military offenders accountable by coordinating with military and civilian authorities. Victims may also request restricted reporting which allows access to confidential medical, advocacy, and counseling services without command and law enforcement involvement.

Service members, military spouses, and DOD civilians are encouraged to promote and advocate for the safety and well-being of all. Throughout the month of October, Joint Base Charleston FAP will host a variety of awareness events to educate, promote healthy relationships, community involvement and outreach programs to encourage "Respectful, Safe and Positive Relationships." Your home is NOT a war zone.