October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence causes lifelong harm to countless Americans every day across our great nation. We pause, particularly during this month, to recognize the devastation that domestic violence causes, and to acknowledge and thank the frontline service providers, advocates, and law enforcement officers who face incredible risks when responding to domestic violence calls.
People often ask us here at the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) what they can do to help address the problem of domestic violence, which continues to negatively impact men, women and children.
In light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to encourage everyone to learn how to spot the signs of domestic violence. Be aware and be willing to make a difference in someone’s life. Make sure the family member, friend, co-worker, or even a stranger who may need help knows that there are people who care and that help is always available.
OVW works tirelessly to support those who have been affected by domestic violence. This year alone, we have awarded over $488 million to support coordinated community responses to domestic and sexual violence. These funds also help provide education and prevention resources critical to ending domestic violence.
Domestic violence is more than just physical violence. It can include sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse. Domestic violence intimidates, assaults, and often is an attempt at controlling a partner. In their lifetimes, one-in-five women will experience physical violence by an intimate partner. One-in-seven men will share the same experience.
On any typical day, numerous calls are made to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. This year has been particularly difficult for many people. Countless challenges, including a global pandemic, have made it extremely difficult for victims to physically escape their abusers or even call for help. Social distancing precautions made for fewer vacancies at shelters and limited available resources and services available to victims. However, advocates for domestic violence victims have found creative ways to continue providing the help that these survivors desperately need.
OVW continues to work tirelessly with our partners to end domestic violence. The challenges we face are constantly evolving, and we will continue to have conversations to find solutions to combat them. We will discuss new approaches for law enforcement, more sweeping victim service approaches, and how to increasingly engage men as part of the solution.
We will continue to share many of these discussions on new approaches through our Patchwork podcast and I encourage you to listen and to share your ideas for topics you would like to hear more about.
The dangers and devastating consequences of domestic violence to women, men, and children is what drives all of us at the Office on Violence Against Women to work hard to help others. Please join our effort.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of domestic violence, there are many services available to assist you including the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233 or thehotline.org. You can also visit this page to find your state’s coalition, who can direct you to local resources and services and more opportunities to get involved.