During the month of October NDW is committed to educating its personnel on domestic violence and its effects during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Through this effort, prevention is being promoted to not only raise awareness of domestic violence, but also help to stop it. During DVAM, personnel should educate themselves on how to stop domestic violence should it occur.
This year the Navy has adopted, “Silence Hides Violence,” as its DVAM theme to encourage every member of every community to use their voice against domestic violence. The theme will also center on the impact of getting help for a victim of abuse, as well as the consequences of a victim and the community remaining silent in the face of abuse.
“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time for the community to come together and build awareness and a movement towards safe and healthy relationships for all individuals and families,” said Lolita Allen, program analyst, Family Advocacy Program at Commander, Navy Installation Command (CNIC) headquarters. “DVAM is observed to bring to light an issue that affects our community in a staggering way. It’s an opportunity for domestic violence organizations to connect with the community through meaningful outreach and awareness events.”
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. It can affect anyone of any gender at any stage of a relationship. If an individual is the victim of domestic violence - but not in immediate danger of harm, in which case they should call 911 - Allen suggests they take action and call their local Family Advocacy Program (FAP) to get help.
“Call Family Advocacy; that is a surefire way that both the victim and the offender will receive help,” said Allen. “We are connecting families to resources, treatment and services that will help them to be safe and build healthy relationships. We want victims who experience abuse to have the support systems at their fingertips when needed. There is safety in having friends and family who you trust to provide details related to abuse. However, we also understand that these systems are not always readily available to military families who are geographically separated from their extended family support. Additionally, we understand that victims of abuse need support - like the FAP - that can help them to navigate military and civilian community support systems and connect them to the appropriate services.”
FAP representatives offer a number of services to victims of domestic abuse, including connecting victims to emergency services and counseling, shelter, legal services and other resources on and off base. They can also explain reporting options, provide information about military and civilian response to domestic violence, and explain transition compensation available to family members of service members who are separated from the military due to a dependent-abuse offense.
Allen advises that personnel who suspect someone they know is a victim of domestic violence should act, but avoid getting in to a dangerous position themselves.
“Don’t ignore it, but don’t get physically involved; you could get hurt,” said Allen. “Call 911, let the police handle it safely. If someone you care about - a friend, co-worker or neighbor - is a victim of domestic violence don’t give advice. Instead, tell them that you care about them and are concerned about their safety. Refer the victim to the Family Advocacy Program. They may or may not want to use them right away, but knowing what resources are available gives them options to respond.”
Military One Source (http://www.militaryonesource.mil) offers a number tips for reaching out to a suspected victim. The website advises personnel to show their concern, and offer information on support services, as well as remind the victim of the impact that abuse has on those around the violence, especially children.
For more information on DVAM and domestic violence, or to learn more on how to help, visit the CNIC Family Advocacy Program website at www.cnic.navy.mil/ffr/family_readiness/fleet_and_family_support_program/family_advocacy.html.
This article is part two of a series on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more information on events in Naval District Washington, visit www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.
Naval District Washington Fleet and Family Support Directory
- Naval Support Activity - Washington
Washington, D.C. 20373
- Naval Support Activity - Annapolis
Annapolis, Md. 21402-5073
- National Naval Medical Center
- Naval Support Activity - South Potomac
Dahlgren, Va. 22448-5150
- NAS Patuxent River, Md.
Patuxent River, Md. 20670-1132
- NIOC Ft. Meade
Fort Meade, Md. 20755
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) is available 24 hours a day for safety planning and referrals for local resources, visit http://www.ndvh.org/.