During October Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed nationally, and locally here in Chesterfield County. Nationally, the observance was launched in the 1980’s as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues. In the 30+ years since, progress has been made to support domestic violence survivors and hold offenders accountable. But, there’s more to be done. Here in Chesterfield County, in 2018, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors entered a Perpetual Resolution, recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
What is domestic violence? Domestic violence is the willful intimidation and use of abusive behaviors as a part of a systemic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It can include physical violence, sexual violence, threats, isolation from family and friends, economic and financial control, emotional and psychological abuse, and the abuser’s use of children against the victim. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically. While the dynamics of domestic violence remain fairly consistent, each situation is different. Intimate partner violence does not discriminate. It occurs in all socio-economic groups, ethnicities, races, genders, and ages.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports more than 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men are affected by domestic violence. The CDC also reports 43 million women and approximately 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports, in Virginia:
- In their lifetimes, 33.6% of Virginia women and 28.6% of Virginia men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking.
- On one day in 2020, 84% of the domestic violence programs in Virginia served 1,344 victims of domestic violence and received 606 hotline calls. On that same day, 109 requests for services went unmet due to lack of resources.
- In 2020, there were 541 homicide victims in Virginia, more than half of which were committed by an intimate partner. In 2020, almost 70% of Virginia intimate partner homicides involved the use of a firearm.
- Law enforcement in Virginia estimate there are approximately 31,000 active protective orders on file in Virginia at any given time.
- In Chesterfield County:
- In 2021, the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court entered 1,438 Emergency Protective Orders (adult) and 699 Family Abuse Protective Orders.
- In 2021, the Chesterfield Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Center’s direct service staff of 3 assisted 633 primary victims. Among other services, the DSVRC’s two advocates provided court accompaniment to 582 protective order petitioners, accompanying petitioners to more than 1100 hearings. The DSVRC’s one Sr. Clinician provided individual therapy to 63 clients, and facilitated support groups attended by 24 clients. Collectively, the DSVRC team completed 335 advocacy contacts on behalf of clients, and provided more than 2,604 referrals.
- In 2020, the Chesterfield County Intimate Partner and Family Violence Fatality Review Team produced it’s 3rd Edition Report, detailing findings and recommendations from the review of 33 domestic violence related deaths in Chesterfield County between 2007 and 2015. Of the 33 deaths, 23 were women, 5 were men and 5 were children. In 68% of the cases reviewed the victims had separated from or planned to separate from the offender. In 64% of the cases reviewed, children under the age of 18 were lived in the home. In 67% of the cases reviewed, firearms were used. In 44% of the cases reviewed, the situation ended in a homicide-suicide. Intimate partner violence can lead to death. To review the team’s three reports, please visit www.chesterfield.gov/dsvrc
In memory of those who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence, but also in honor of those who are struggling today and those who have survived…. See something, Say Something.