NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy is observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October as a way to inform the Navy's Total Force about domestic violence prevention, how to identify the warning signs and how to report abuse.
Domestic violence goes beyond physical abuse and affects all age groups and social classes - both male and female. It can include emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse.
"Preventing domestic violence is a Navy-wide effort that depends on the commitment of everyone," said Rear Adm. Tim Alexander, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. "I am confident we can reduce incidents of domestic violence by making sure our service members, civilians and their families receive the support they need, and that we hold offenders accountable. Domestic violence degrades readiness and we should never tolerate it."
As part of an effort to combat and prevent domestic violence, Alexander signed a proclamation, Sept. 25, declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the Mid-Atlantic region. In signing, Alexander urged individuals to learn about the warning signs and how to identify domestic abuse.
"Oftentimes, victims don't want to come forward because they are afraid," he said. "We have an obligation to know what to look for and to become actively involved when it occurs."
Alexander stressed that help and support are available for those who are victims of domestic abuse.
"There is no shame in seeking help when someone is in an abusive relationship," he said. "Never hesitate to reach out to your Fleet and Family Support Center, or a Navy chaplain. There are programs and services in place now that can help victims and help us increase our prevention efforts."
There are two reporting options available for victims of domestic abuse: restricted and unrestricted. Restricted reports do not involve military chain of command or law enforcement. Unrestricted reports, however, will include an investigation by command and/or law enforcement. In both cases, victims can receive a full range of advocacy, medical and counseling services.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, speak with a counselor or victim advocate at your local Fleet and Family Support Center, a healthcare provider at a military treatment facility, or a Navy chaplain about the options that are available to you. You may also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE, or visit www.thehotline.org for more information.
The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is available to support families in the U.S. and overseas. FAP staff members are professionally trained, respond appropriately to incidents of abuse and neglect, support victims, and offer prevention and treatment services. An important part of the program is a collaboration among FAP staff, military units, law enforcement, medical and legal personnel, family service centers, chaplains and civilian agencies. This coordinated community effort is essential for success in preventing and responding to abusive behavior within military families.
To find a Fleet and Family Support Center near you, or to inquire about the services that are available, visit 1.usa.gov/LnVW2m.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Mid Atlantic, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrma/.