Mark Scott: Domestic violence is among us

Published 2:54 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month and the week of Oct. 15-21 is the National Week of Action to end domestic violence. Domestic or family violence is a persistent and deadly problem in communities across the United States. Here in Americus, domestic calls are consistently the most frequent call for assistance that we receive. The Americus Police Department responded to 4,445 domestic disputes in 2016, which involved 136 injuries, and investigations into four complaints of child abuse. As of this writing, we have responded to 3,453 domestic disputes in 2017, with 69 injuries and one reported case of child abuse.
The following statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence give a very sobering overview of the problem.
• On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
• 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of (some form of) physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
• 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
• Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
• 19 percent of domestic violence involves a weapon.

The key to decreasing the number of incidents of domestic violence in our community is for our community to get involved. If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with a bad relationship, say something. Help is available, but persons trapped in a cycle of violence often feel powerless to escape. Encourage them to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). If they won’t call, make the call yourself. The hotline is open 24 hours a day and can direct both victims and those concerned about them to resources in our area. You are not alone. Help is available.

Mark Scott is chief, Americus Police Department.