This month at the Fresh Start Foundation we are raising awareness of Domestic Violence.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is an excellent source of information on domestic violence with resources on how to protect yourself, including a Safety Plan detailed below.
Read on to become more informed and look out locally for ways you can get involved to raise awareness of domestic violence this month!
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women
- Each year an estimated 1.3 million women are victimized by intimate partners
- Domestic violence results in more than 18.5 million health care visits yearly
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police
- Every 44 minutes in Arizona, one or more children witness domestic violence
- Up to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse their children
- Witnessing violence as a child is the strongest risk factor in transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next
- Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults
Source: Arizona Department of Health Services
If you are still in the relationship:
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
- Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
- Keep change with you at all times.
- Memorize all important numbers.
- Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if he\she becomes violent.
- Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence.
If you have left the relationship:
- Change your phone number.
- Screen calls.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
- Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and work contacts.
- Call a shelter for battered women.
If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.
Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, your marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's), and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)