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Domestic violence issues will be in spotlight

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Enumclaw Domestic Violence Task Force and Jennifer Quiroz, community advocate for Domestic Violence Services at the YWCA South King County, will be presenting information and statistics, as well as hosting a public meeting Oct. 20, to bring awareness to the topic that lives in this community.

Enumclaw counted 55 cases between January and June. It’s such a concern, the Enumclaw City Council hired a domestic violence court advocate, Jennifer Batts, in August.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used by an individual to establish and maintain control over an intimate partner. It can be through intimidating, beating, terrorizing or threatening the other. It is not mutual combat. Acts of domestic violence consist of physical, sexual, psychological and/or emotional abuse and can be committed by both adults and adolescents.

What is Domestic Violence?

• Domestic violence may include physical and sexual violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual or economic abuse.

• Perpetrators often use the children to manipulate victims: by threatening to harm or harming or abducting the children; by forcing the children to participate in abuse of the victim; by using visitation as an occasion to harass or monitor victims; or by fighting protracted custody battles to punish victims.

• Perpetrators often invent complex rules about what victims or the children can or cannot do, and force victims to follow these frequently changing rules.

• In some families, perpetrators of domestic violence may routinely beat their partners until they require medical attention. In other families, the physical violence may have occurred a few times in the past; perpetrators may currently exert power and control over their partners simply by looking at them a certain way or reminding them of prior episodes.

What are the warning signs of domestic violence?

Domestic violence is not just physical. You may be in a violent relationship if your partner or spouse:

• Keeps track of what you are doing and criticizes you for little things.

• Constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.

• Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family, or going to work or school.

• Controls access to all the family finances.

• Humiliates you in front of others.

• Destroys your property or things you care about.

• Threatens to hurt you or the children or pets, or does cause hurt (by hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting).

• Uses or threatens to use a weapon against you.

• Forces you to have sex against your will.

• Blames you for his/her violent outbursts.

• Says your concerns and fears about your relationship are not real or not important.

The above sections came from the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence website: http://www.kccadv.org/whatisdv.html

Who is affected by domestic violence?

• Domestic violence affects people from all racial, cultural, religious and economic backgrounds, and sexual orientations. It is a leading cause of injury for American women between the ages of 15 and 54, but it can happen to any person at any age.

• Domestic violence hurts everyone who experiences it. But each survivor may have different needs, depending on their personal experience of their family, their community, and their access to resources in the majority culture.

The above section came from the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence website: http://www.kccadv.org/affected.html

Some Statistics:

• One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime (Tjaden, Patricia & Thoenness, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence.” 2002)

In Washington state:

• In 2006, there were 49,980 reported cases of domestic violence. Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “Crime in Washington Annual Report.” 2006.

• In 2006, 59 out of 195 homicides were a result of domestic violence. Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “Crime in Washington Annual Report,” 2006.

• 30 percent of criminal homicides were domestic violence related. Washington -Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “Crime in Washington Annual Report.” 2006.

• In 2006, 47 percent of domestic violence homicides occurred after the victim had left, divorced, separated or was planning on breaking up with the abuser. Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review.” December 2006.

Nationally:

• 40 to 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family: Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, 50, 1996)

• Between 3.3 and 10 million American children witness domestic violence annually (Schechter and Edleson, Domestic Violence and Children: Creating a Public Response, Center on Crime, Communities & Culture for the Open Society Institute 2000)

• Between June 2004 and June 2005, 34,824 individuals were turned away from shelters. (Domestic Violence Statistics. Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Accessed via the website of U.S. Senator Patty Murray, http://murray.senate.gov/dv/dv-statistics.cfm) As is the case in most states, Washington state would require increased funding and shelter programs in order to adequately meet the emergency shelter needs of all domestic violence victims.

The above section came from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website: http://www.ncadv.org/files/Washington.pdf

Safety Plan

If you are in an abusive relationship:

• Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).

• Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.

• Keep change with you at all times.

• Memorize all important numbers.

• Establish a “code word” or “sign” so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.

• Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent.

• Call an Advocate to discuss your options and help you plan to stay safe.

• Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence.

If you have left the relationship:

• Change your phone number.

• Screen calls.

• Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.

• Change locks, if the batterer has a key.

• Avoid staying alone.

• Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.

• If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.

• Vary your routine.

• Notify school and work contacts.

• Call a shelter for battered women.

If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.

Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, your marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner’s names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2s), and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)

The above section came from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website: http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/SafetyPlan_130.html

If you just suspect a person is being abused:

• If you see someone getting hurt, call 911.

• Take the time to listen and really believe what your friend says

• Don’t downplay the danger

• Don’t judge or criticize your friend’s choices

• Give emotional support

• Offer to help by taking care of the kids or giving her a ride

• Express concern for your friend’s safety

• Let your friend know about agencies that can help

The above section came from the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence brochure, “Love Shouldn’t Hurt. There’s NO excuse for violence.”

Agencies that can help:

• YWCA Domestic Violence Services for South King can provide safety planning and problem solving, domestic violence education, legal advocacy, shelter/housing referrals, food/clothing referrals, weekly support group in various locations, including Enumclaw, and children’s services. Advocates are available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please call 206-799-6209, English or Spanish, or leave a message at Plateau Outreach Ministries at 360-825-8961 and an advocate will return your call.

• Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) can provide crisis intervention, education, legal advocacy, shelter services, support groups and children’s groups. Their shelter line is 206-622-1881 and their 24-hour crisis line is 425-656-7867.

• Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline (24-hour) 800-562-6025

• Linea de Crisis Paz en el Hogar (24 horas) 1-888-847-7205

• King County Crisis Clinic (24 hour) 800-244-5767

• Pierce County DV Hotline (24 hour) 800-764-2420

• King County Sexual Assault or Rape Hotline (24 hour) 1-888-99-VOICE

• Community Information Line for King County ext. 211 or 800-621-4636, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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