Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Posted: September 26, 2010 in family law
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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, otherwise known as DVAM.  As domestic violence is on the increase, I wanted to focus on two groups, teens and returning war veterans.

TEENS AND WHERE THEY CAN TURN FOR HELP  

Many teens do not understand or recognize the signs of abuse and don’t know where to turn for help.  For instance, in a healthy relationship, you would never feel guilty about having your own friends and interests, feel pressured to spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend when you would rather be doing something else, keep opinions or comments to yourself to keep the peace, or change your behavior to avoid fighting with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  If you have questions about whether your relationship is a healthy one, there is confidential help available.

Loveisrespect.org is designed to assist teens and young adults using the technology they use the most, the phone, the web and chat.  There is anonymous 24/7 help available to young men and women, along with their friends and families, by phone at 866-331-9474 or TTY 866-331-8453.  They can also chat in a one-on-one, confidential conversation with a peer advocate between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am.  All advocates are trained to offer crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals from a database of over 4,500 resource providers.

Educating our youth about domestic violence is important to break the cycle of abuse.  If you are a teen or parent of a teen and you have any concerns, there is a wealth of information available at loveisrespect.org.

VETERANS AND THE HELP AVAILABLE

As our young men and women begin returning home from the war, there are many adjustments for them and their families.  The experience of combat may lead to startle responses or trauma triggers.  Flashbacks and nightmares can interrupt sleep and normal activities, and they can be upsetting not only to the veteran but their families.

Witnessjustice.org is a national nonprofit organization that provides support and advocacy for victims of violence and trauma.  They can be reached at 800-4WJ-HELP.  At their website you will find specific help for U.S. Military personnel and families affected by the conflicts of Iran and Afghanistan. One of the organizations available for veterans is Giveanhour.org which gives free confidential mental health services for these veterans and their families.

Also available is the ComingHomeProject.net.  There programs are also free to U.S. Military personnel and their families and is confidential.  Cominghomeproject.net is devoted to providing compassionate expert care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers.

In past war times, when our veterans returned home there was no place for them or their families to get assistance that was confidential.  Now, there is assistance and at no cost to our veterans.

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