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Domestic violence affects the entire family

Domestic violence encompasses all acts of violence against women and children within the context of family or intimate relationships. It is an issue of increasing concern because it has a negative effect on all family members, especially children.

Domestic violence is not limited to any socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial or age group. It is the leading cause of injury to women and children in the United States, where they are more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant. Statistics show that 29 percent of all violence against women by a single offender is committed by an intimate partner, including a husband, an ex-husband, a boyfriend or an ex-boyfriend.

It is very difficult to obtain accurate information about the extent of domestic violence because it is extensively underreported. However, it is estimated that as many as 4 million instances of domestic abuse against women occur annually in the United States.

This violence takes a devastating toll on children who are exposed to its cruelty because they also become victims of their parent's abuse. It has been said by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that children whose mothers are victims of wife battery are twice as likely to be abused themselves as those children whose mothers are not victims of abuse. When children witness violence in the home, they have been found to suffer many of the symptoms that are experienced by children who are directly abused. Some of these symptoms could include the following:

low self-esteem,

self blame or self hatred,

bullying,

changes in behavior or appearance,

depression, anxiety, fear of being alone,

feeling like you always have to be on guard

lack of trust

thoughts or feelings of going crazy.

Some of our community may not be aware that domestic violence can have a lifelong effect on our children. Historically, domestic violence has been addressed reactively - after the fact. We are fortunate in Hill County that the Human Resources Development Council has taken the lead for years in providing assistance to those affected by domestic violence. And now, domestic violence prevention activities will be provided through the local DELTA - Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership through Alliances - Project. DELTA goals will focus on:

providing domestic violence prevention training for local professionals,

increasing awareness and changing perceptions related to domestic violence,

prevention of first-time perpetration.

For more information on this and related topics, or to get involved with this new initiative, please contact the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.

 

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