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Education raises awareness of warning signs

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 11:11 AM
By: Bryan Ripple - 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

For the past 36 years, October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The purpose of this observance is to provide education to communities, individuals, couples and families concerning Family Advocacy Program services and other community resources that can help prevent, raise awareness of community responsibility and provide resources for addressing domestic abuse.

“The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Family Advocacy Program provides services to prevent abuse, promote early identification and reporting, provide treatment to offenders, and support for victims,” said Beverley Knight-Stukenborg, Family Advocacy Outreach manager at the 88th Medical Operations Squadron.

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“No relationship is perfect. But it’s important to be aware of unhealthy behaviors which can lead to domestic abuse – emotional, economic, sexual and physical. Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender or economic status,” she said.

Even simple actions can help those at risk for abuse. For instance, learning about the warning signs of abuse and reporting options that are available is equally important, said Knight-Stukenborg.

“Deciding whether to report domestic abuse can be difficult. Victims of domestic abuse may feel confused, alone or afraid to get help. If your partner is abusive, knowing your reporting options may help you decide what’s best for you and your family,” she added.

There are two options for reporting abuse. Restricted reporting is for those who want victim advocacy services, medical care or counseling but do not want an official investigation. Reports must be made to a Family Advocacy Program manager, military health care provider, domestic abuse victim advocate or clinical treatment provider.

Unrestricted reporting is for those who want to pursue an official investigation through command, Family Advocacy Program or law enforcement. All reports of child abuse will be investigated.

Several Domestic Violence Awareness Month events and activities are scheduled this month across the installation and at local community events, including activities at the Air Force Institute of Technology, 88th Force Support Squadron, 88th Medical Group, the base commissary, the Family Violence Prevention Center Candlelight Vigil, Retiree Appreciation Day, Dayton YWCA and the Artemis Center Benefit Breakfast.

There is also a Domestic Violence Awareness Month poster campaign this month with posters displayed at units across the installation. DVAM activities are also being held during unit commander’s calls and wingman day events.

“Domestic violence is never OK,” Knight-Stukenborg said.

For free, confidential support, information or referrals, contact Family Advocacy at 937-257-4608. For domestic violence emergencies, call 911. For more information, visit www.militaryonesource.mil or call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-548-2722.