Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the statistics are sobering.
• 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• 37.3% of women and 28.3% of men experienced intimate partner sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking at some point in their lives.
• More than 12 million Americans are victims of domestic violence every year.
• The costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceed $5.8 billion per year.
• Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
• Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of non-violent parents.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. It affects every corner of society regardless of race, socio-economic status, or gender. In fact, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported that almost 34% of victims of domestic violence homicide in 2016 were men. Seeking legal help during an already traumatic and emotional time in life can be scary and intimidating; however, if you are a victim of domestic violence, it is crucial that you seek out immediate help. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are in fear of immediate harm, you should always call 911 first! The Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville and Holly Springs Police Departments are all trained to deal with domestic violence situations. Not only do some officers receive special training on domestic violence situations, but they can also help victims find safety and contact resources here in Wake County.
A victim of domestic violence can also obtain what is called a “Domestic Violence Protective Order” (DVPO). A DVPO is a court order that will require the offender to stop committing further acts of domestic violence against the victim. A DVPO can also grant the victim possession of the residence and vehicle shared with the offender; it can order the eviction of the aggressor from the home; it can prohibit the aggressor from purchasing or possessing firearms; it can order the aggressor to attend and complete an abuser treatment program; and it can also grant temporary custody of children that the victim/abuser have in common. The relief granted in a DVPO can be extremely helpful to a victim of domestic violence. A DVPO prohibits an offender from owning or possessing a firearm, and if an offender violates a DVPO, he or she may go to jail. DVPO’s can provide protection. Of the 110 victims of domestic violence homicide in North Carolina in 2016, only six had previously taken out a Domestic Violence Protective Order, and, of those six, only one had a current Domestic Violence Protective Order in place when the murder occurred.
A number of services and resources are available throughout the Triangle, including the following:
• InterAct provides services for the support and safety of victims of domestic violence. InterAct also provides a 24-hour crisis hotline and emergency shelter for battered women and their children. You can call InterAct at (919) 828-7740 or toll-free at (866) 291-0855.
• Triangle Family Services also offers a number of services, including trauma counseling, anger management and batterer intervention programs, as well as supervised visitation services to provide safe ways for parents to visit with their children. Triangle Family Services be reached at (919) 821-0790, and additional information can be found at http://www.tfsnc.org/.
• The United States Department of Justice’s Office of Crime Victim Services, provides an online directory of more than 10,000 programs to provide victims with service agencies in the United States and abroad: https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/findvictimservices/.
• Survivor to Survivor http://www.survivortosurvivor.org/ is a web-based guide that provides legal and spiritual resources for domestic violence survivors and their loved ones right here in North Carolina and across the country.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but domestic violence is an issue that too many men, women, and children face every day in this country. If you or someone you care about is a victim, take action. There is help. At Ward Family Law Group, we represent victims of domestic violence throughout southwestern Wake County, including the Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, and Morrisville communities. If you are a victim of domestic violence, don’t be a statistic. You need to know your rights and seek help.
 Statistics as reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.