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October Is Domestic Violence Prevention Month
Updated October 1, 2014 7:40 AM
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(UNDATED) - One in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

Nearly three out of four or 74 percent of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

"Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and families of every background and circumstance," says Superior Court I Judge Michael Robbins, who also now presides over Lawrence County's Domestic Violence Problem Solving Court. "A family's home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members."

Since the 1994 passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, championed by then Senator Joe Biden, the U.S. has strengthened its response to domestic violence and increased services for victims.

"Still, far too many women and families in this country and in Lawrence County are affected by domestic violence," Robbins added.

During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Robbins and other are committed to increasing the awareness of domestic violence and bullying, and it's effects, on families in Lawrence County.

To effectively respond to domestic violence, county and state officials have taken steps to prevent the violence.

"Facing social isolation, victims can find it difficult to protect themselves and their children. They require safe shelter and housing, medical care, access to justice, culturally specific services, and economic opportunity," Robbins added.

Thus Robbins and others established first the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Coalition and then the Domestic Violence Problem Solving Court.

"Domestic violence is a family problem often handed down from one generation to the next," Robbins said. "Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims. Our goal is to break that cycle."

The project originated in 2010 when county officials raised concerns about domestic violence to state health officials after a study of cases from 2007-2009 led to the recommendation of a domestic violence court.

In 2013, the county received a $40,000 grant from the Indiana Supreme Court and a generous donation of $10,000 for a victim's advocate position and $5,000 for team training from Hoosier Uplands to form Indiana's first certified Domestic Violence Problem Solving Court.

Since then Robbins and team comprised of representatives of the prosecutor's office, the public defender agency, the probation department, and other local officials have been meeting to define the court's mission and objectives.

The court has been addressing the issue for about a month.

"During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence," Robbins added. "By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented by providing services to those in need."

Domestic Violence Statistics

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women--more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  • Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
  • Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
  • Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone--the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
  • Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
  • The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents' domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

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