By Tim McGough, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
Every year Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and Navy Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSC) recognize domestic violence prevention with reminders that domestic violence is a community health issue that needs to be addressed.
“The Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) theme for 2017 is “Be the Change. Prevent Domestic Violence”,” said Tricia Morzenti, CNIC Family Advocacy Program Analyst.
As with previous years, DVAM is recognized with an outreach campaign featuring the color purple. “It is a call to support the domestic violence awareness purple ribbon campaign by wearing purple on each Thursday throughout October. We are also using hashtag purple Thursday (#purplethursday) on social media,” said Morzenti.
Besides the purple ribbon campaign, CNIC is hosting a proclamation signing and social media campaign.
Domestic violence is a costly health issue that is a community responsibility to prevent and Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is promoting learning the warning signs of domestic violence, were to find help, and how to build healthy relationships.
According to the Department of Defense (DoD) Central Family Advocacy Registry of 2016, almost 10 out of 1,000 Navy spouses currently experience abuse.
“Almost every year there are deaths related to family maltreatment,” said Morzenti. “Unfortunately, we lose service members, family members, intimate partners, and children. This is why it is so important for active intervention by all Navy community members and leadership to know what the warning signs are and where to seek assistance.”
Domestic violence affects people of all races, ages, religions, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, and social economic status.
“Children are especially vulnerable to injury during domestic violence incidents,” said Morzenti. “But they are more likely to be affected psychologically and suffer long-term physical and emotional illnesses.”
CNIC has preventive measures and training in place to help Sailors and their families to combat domestic violence with education.
“Each installation FFSC provides classes in parenting, conflict resolution, couples communication, financial management,” she said. “FFSC programs also provide support to caregivers of special needs family members, deployment resiliency, adjustment to military lifestyle, new parents support programs, and general counseling to address non-medical issues.”
Sailors are required to complete annual domestic violence prevention training at a FFSC or on the Domestic Violence Prevention mobile application. CNIC also leads awareness campaigns such as this one, Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. These campaigns raise community awareness of the risk indicators, directing personnel to the FFSC support services and national resources that are available.
“We encourage victims to reach out to their local installation’s Family Advocacy Program victim advocate or clinician to receive information on services provided and reporting options,” said Morzenti. “All victims can receive medical treatment from a military provider and disclose abuse to receive confidential support and collaboration with a victim advocate.”
Unfortunately, with all the support offered to domestic violence victims there are still some that stay with their abuser. One may ask, why stay in an abusive relationship?
“There are many reasons why people choose to stay with a person who abuses them,” said Morzenti. “The main reasons are safety, because the risk of injury or death increases when a survivor leaves a relationship. Also, protecting children, financial impact, protecting pets, and the hope that the abuser will change are the common reasons to stay.”
Morzenti also added that a person experiencing abuse can go to the military medical provider, FAP victim advocate, their chaplain, or FFSC clinical counselor.
“If they want to report an abusive incident for a full investigation, they can go to their command, law enforcement, or any of the care providers I mentioned,” she said.
More importantly, she emphasized that if safety is of the essence and abuse is currently taking place, the victim should call 911 or base security to respond immediately.
If a person is suffering from domestic violence Morzenti said they should be guided to the FFSC victim advocate, clinical counselor, chaplain, or a military medical provider to receive professional care. She also said there are signs to look for if someone is being abused by domestic violence.
“There are many signs of DV such as isolating a person from friends, family, or support; physical injury; public humiliation; threats to harm; fear or low self-confidence; extreme control of finances or documentation; stalking behaviors (to include cyber bullying or stalking); and monitoring whereabouts,” said Morzenti.
If you or you know someone who is suffering from domestic abuse there are various resources available:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233, www.thehotline.org or TDY 1-800-787-3224
Fleet and Family Support Program www.ffsp.navy.mil
Military One Source: 1-800-342-9647 or www.militaryonesource.mil
Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/definitions.html
Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), headquartered at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC, is responsible for worldwide U.S. Navy shore installation management. With more than 53,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide across 11 regions, 71 installations, and 123 Naval Operations Support Centers, CNIC is responsible for the operations, maintenance and quality of life programs to support the Navy's Fleet, Fighter, and Family.