Written by Ron Wallace, PhD
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic Violence (DV) and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are terms used interchangeably, however they both refer to the same crime.
The U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) both define IPV as a pattern of abusive behavior by one partner in a relationship over the other partner. This abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological in nature and is neither gender nor relationship specific. A female or male in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship can be a victim of IPV.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified IPV as “a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans.” IPV has the unique characteristic of being recognized as a crime by DOJ and NIJ, as well as a public health problem by CDC.
Just how prevalent is this problem? Each year in September the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducts a single day survey of agencies providing advocacy services to IPV victims in an effort to measure the magnitude of the problem. The numbers for the most recent survey that was conducted on September 16, 2014 are not yet available, but last year’s survey results demonstrate the severity of IPV.
The 2013 survey had a response rate of more than 87% of the programs nationwide that provide services to victims of IPV (1,649 of 1,905 programs). On that single day, 20,267 Hotline calls were answered from individuals seeking information about an IPV situation they were experiencing. Also, the responding agencies reported that 66,581 IPV victims were receiving some type of assistance that day. Assistance can be anything from emergency or transitional housing to non-residential assistance such as legal representation or counseling.
However, the most alarming fact from the 2013 NNEDV survey was that 9,641 requests for assistance could not be fulfilled on that one day. More than 60% (5,778) of the unfilled requests were for some type of housing assistance. The primary reason these request went unfulfilled was a lack of funding.
If you or someone you know is in a relationship where IPV exists, seeking assistance is the most important first step. You can reach the NNEDV Hotline at 800-799-7233 or visit the NNEDV website where a link to agencies offering assistance in each state is provided. Another option is to contact local law enforcement for assistance.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified IPV as a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans.”
Maybe the CDC should consider… I don’t know… maybe DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION! While the government is wasting millions having the CDC analyze abuse by lovers, they could have been preparing our country for things like EPIDEMICS!
Hello! Ebola, perhaps!
We are totally screwed.