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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


by Tech. Sgt. Ian Carrier
914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


10/22/2012 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Some enemies are unseen, faceless killers, but they affect us all as a community and as a military family.

Domestic violence is an enemy as real as any we face on the battlefield. It can harm our families, our neighbors and our fellow service-members. By affecting readiness, domestic violence has the potential to diminish the security of our nation.

This October is the 26th observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and 18 years since the passing of the Violence Against Women Act. The United States Congress designated October as the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989.

Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has a new weapon in its arsenal in the fight against domestic violence with the arrival of Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Tamekia Slaughter. Nikki, as she prefers to be called, previously worked at the Veteran's Affairs hospital in Buffalo as a substance abuse social worker and Veteran's Court liaison.

"Basically, the purpose (of Domestic Violence Awareness Month) is to make the community aware that domestic abuse is a problem and to make people aware of things you can do to stay safe," said Slaughter. "It's something that the community is aware of, but it's taboo. It's something that people really don't talk about. We want to take the taboo out of it for the victims and help them be aware of things they can do and we want people to get involved."

Literature has been made available in the dining hall on base here so that people can have easy access to it and can take the information without having to go to the SARC office. Fact sheets have also been made available during commander's calls.

"There is no need for victims to suffer in silence, there is help out there. There are a lot of deaths that occur due to domestic violence, and I want to be a resource to help prevent this," said Slaughter.

All military members and civilian employees are required to report suspected cases of child abuse and domestic abuse. Two types of reporting options available to military members, their families and civilians are unrestricted and restricted reporting.

For unrestricted reporting, victims who want an official investigation should contact the service member's command, law enforcement or the Family Advocacy Program. The incident will be fully investigated and the victim will have access to victim advocacy services and FAP clinical services.

Restricted reporting gives the victim the option to report an incident of domestic abuse to a victim advocate, a supervisor of a victim advocate or health care provider. They can then receive victim advocacy services and medical care without starting a law enforcement investigation or without having the victim's or alleged offender's commander notified.

In an October 1, Presidential Proclamation made this year, President Obama stated, "While government must do its part, all Americans can play a role in ending domestic violence. Each of us can promote healthy relationships, speak out when we see injustice in our communities, stand with survivors we know, and change attitudes that perpetuate the cycle of abuse. We must also ensure that survivors of domestic violence know they are not alone, and that there are resources available to them. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to learn more by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or by visiting www.TheHotline.org."

For help or information at Niagara Falls ARS, call the SARC office at 716-236-2576.

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