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Help available for victims of domestic violence

The Durango Herald

1429 days ago   Article ID# 498589
Original URL

 

National Coalition for Domestic Violence

DURANGO, COLORADO (The Durango Herald) - According to the Bureau for Justice Statistics, in 2008 (the most recent year for which data are reported) there were more than 650,000 cases of non-fatal, intimate partner violence in the U.S.

The previous year, there were more than 2,300 deaths associated with intimate partner violence.

In more than 70 percent of reported cases of intimate partner violence, also known as domestic violence, adolescent girls and women were the victims. Many cases go unreported.

Intimate partner violence - abuse occurring between two people in a close relationship, including current or former partners - is a major public health problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are four types of behavior that characterize intimate partner violence: emotional abuse, threats, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Emotional abuse refers to threatening a partner or their possessions or loved ones, or harming their sense of self-worth. Examples include name-calling, intimidation or not letting a partner see friends or family.

Threats include words, gestures, weapons or other means to communicate the intent to cause physical harm.

Physical abuse involves force which is intended to or actually causes physical harm or injury. Sexual abuse involves forcing a partner to participate in a sexual act to which they do not consent.

Intimate partner violence often begins with emotional abuse and may escalate to involve other forms of abuse over time. Different types of abusive behavior may occur at the same time.

The health effects of intimate partner violence can include acute injury, emotional harm and even death. Emotional harm may involve not only the victim but others who witness the abuse. In many instances, young children witness intimate partner violence occurring in their own home.

Risk factors for perpetrating abuse include social stressors (such as job loss), previous history of having observed or having been the victim of abuse as a child, and the use of drugs and alcohol.

Every person has the right to live without fear and violence. According to the National Coalition for Domestic Violence, if you are or have been the victim of an abusive relationship, you should develop a safety plan.

People involved in an abusive relationship should think in advance of what to say if a partner becomes violent. They should think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs, avoiding rooms with weapons and those with no exit. Victims should keep change with them, memorize important numbers, make a list of safe family or friends to contact in a crisis and establish a sign or code word so that family, friends or coworkers know when to call for help.

There are many resources for victims of abusive relationships. Victims who need immediate assistance should call 911. They can also get help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE. Locally, the Volunteers of America Southwest Safehouse, 259-5443, provides victim support and residential shelter services.

Our Sister's Keeper, 247-7888, is a tribal coalition that assists survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Dr. Matthew A. Clark is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and pediatrics practicing at the Ute Mountain Health Center in Towaoc.

Copyright 2014 The Durango Herald   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1429 days ago   Article ID# 498589

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