Category Archives: DV Statistics

IPV and the Military

Pacific Standard contributor Lauren Kirchner recently reviewed a 2013 Journal of Family Violence study examining Veterans Health Administration (VHA) perspectives on screening patients for intimate partner violence (IPV). The study reveals that female veterans experience IPV at rates much higher than the general public. The study also highlights that while women comprise a growing number of active duty personnel and veterans, their unique health care needs often go unaddressed. VHA doctors lamented the lack the training they receive when it comes to identifying and intervening in cases of IPV.

One doctor interviewed for the study had the following to say about screening for domestic violence among female veterans: “It’s just really not on my radar. It is so overshadowed by other mental health issues and substance abuse issues that, relative to those topics, IPV isn’t really up there.”

This failure to recognize the role that IPV plays in exacerbating such issues speaks to the need for increased training among VHA practitioners around identifying IPV in patients. For IPV survivors and advocates, it comes as no surprise that women experiencing abuse would present with a myriad of mental health concerns and substance abuse issues—particularly if this abuse is compounded by combat related trauma.

While millions gather today to pay tribute to the men and women who have served in the nation’s military, let us also acknowledge the problem of IPV for female veterans and their families. Improving the healthcare that America’s veterans receive is no doubt the best way to honor their service.

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NO MORE: Challenging the Current DV Paradigm

This month, the NO MORE PSA Campaign launched a series of print, broadcast, online, and outdoor advertisements, the goal of which is to raise awareness around issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. The 3-year long campaign was developed in response to a study conducted earlier this year which revealed what many advocates and survivors have long known–namely, that domestic violence and sexual assault continue to be widespread and that there exists a shockingly high degree of silence and inaction around both issues.

A call to action

Given these findings, the NO MORE campaign has chosen not to direct their message to individual victims or offenders. Instead, the campaign calls on friends and family members to take action to intervene in potentially violent situations to prevent survivors from experiencing further victimization. The message of NO MORE is also directed at society as a whole; challenging widespread beliefs about accountability and victimization.

In the print and television ads, celebrities such as Mariska Hargitay call for an end to the excuses commonly used to justify inaction. Rationalizations such as “She was really drunk”, “He’s such a nice guy though”, or “Why doesn’t she just leave” are among the many which are exposed. Below are two of the many online videos produced by NO MORE.

The brilliance of the this campaign lies in its message of broad accountability, calling on friends, family members, and even coworkers to do their part to end or prevent sexual assault and domestic violence. Such a message refocuses the accusatory attention often directed at survivors of victimization–attention which sadly blames the survivor for being abused or sexually assaulted. The inclusion of men in the delivery of the NO MORE campaign’s message is also a step in the right direction. Too often women are instructed on how to best protect themselves against a potential assault. We are told to not go out alone at night, to carry pepper spray with us at all times, and to be careful of how much alcohol we drink at a party. Those who are intent on harming women are unfortunately not included in conversations about ending sexual assault and domestic violence, thus absolving them of any responsibility for their wrongdoing and further stigmatizing victims. Furthermore, as can be seen in one of the videos above, NO MORE includes statistics on male victims of intimate violence and sexual assault, challenging the notion that men are always perpetrators of violence and never the victims.

Unfortunately however, the NO MORE ads fail to address the issue of domestic violence within same-sex relationships. In addition to male victimization, intimate violence between LGBTQ couples is under addressed in the anti-violence movement. The inclusion of statistics as they relate to rates of victimization in the LGBTQ community would have served to further strengthen the message of this campaign.

Redefining the victim

As was mentioned above, it is widely believed that men are always perpetrators of violence while women are always victims. Not only are these beliefs inaccurate as they relate to the reality of male victimization, they assume that violence only takes place within heterosexual relationships. Advocating for a more inclusive definition of victim is not intended to undermine the gendered nature of domestic violence and sexual assault. Indeed, statistics on domestic violence and sexual assault reveal the centrality of gender in the dynamics of both forms of victimization. Our hope here at CVR is that anti-violence activists and advocates will continue to examine and expose the misconceptions that have long harmed survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Only after redefining victimization to reflect the totality of experiences with domestic violence and sexual assault can treatment and intervention offer individuals a viable option to end the violence that plagues the lives of survivors, their families, and their communities as well.

For more information on male victimization, click here to visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website.

More information on domestic violence within the LGBTQ community can be found here.

New York DV stats show uptick in 2012

The Division of Criminal Justice Services reported 54,848 domestic violence victims outside New York City in 2012, up more than 1,700, or 3 percent, from the year before. The New York Police Department, using data that excludes some lower level crimes, said there were 30,428 domestic violence victims last year, an increase of about 1,500. State criminal justice officials said Wednesday that the increase in police reports about domestic assaults, sex offenses and violations of protection orders may reflect an ongoing push for victims to contact authorities.

Recently released data on incidents of domestic violence throughout New York reveal an increase in rates for the year 2012. Read the full article here for a summary of 2012’s findings