According to statistics compiled by the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, in 2011, the Idaho State Police reported 5,715 incidents of violence between spouses, ex-spouses and those in dating relationships. This equates to one reported violent incident nearly every 90 minutes. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I commend all those who are working to raise awareness of resources for victims and advance prevention. These efforts cannot diminish.
We are making meaningful inroads in addressing domestic violence, but still face serious challenges. The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence also reports the following:
Each day in Idaho more than 638 victims of domestic violence and their children seek safety and services from community-based domestic violence programs.
Nationally, one in four women will experience domestic violence over her lifetime.
In 2011, there were 22 domestic violence related fatalities in Idaho.
In 2011, Idaho courts received 4,675 petitions for domestic violence civil protections orders. That is one civil protection order for every 340 people.
A great deal of good is being done in our communities to help victims and decrease the prevalence of domestic violence. I respect the work of the many committed to improving domestic and sexual violence prevention and response. This ongoing dedication has been instrumental in making progress and we have more work to do.
Effective programs to help victims and prevent future violence remain a fundamental part of the solution. For 18 years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has supported these efforts. VAWA-supported programs are working to decrease the number of victims. To continue this essential commitment to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, I co-sponsored VAWA reauthorization legislation. I will continue to work for enactment of this legislation that would expand the law’s focus on sexual assault, ensure access to services for all victims of domestic and sexual violence and address the crisis of domestic and sexual violence in tribal communities. The legislation also responds to these difficult economic times by consolidating programs, reducing authorization levels and adding accountability measures to ensure that federal funds are used efficiently and effectively.
Ensuring access to help is an important step in stopping the abuse. Assistance can be accessed through the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. Information, including a list of abuse warning signs and links to other resources, can be accessed through my website: http://www.crapo.senate.gov/issues/crime_law_judiciary/DomesticViolence.cfm
Shedding light on domestic violence, reaching out to victims and increasing access to assistance and resources is helping ensure that more Idaho children can grow up in homes free of abuse. The work being done throughout this Domestic Violence Awareness Month and everyday is furthering this necessary effort, and I thank all those who work to rid our communities of this violence that has lasting impacts on families and communities. This ongoing dedication is instrumental in making progress.
To directly link to this guest column, please use the following address: http://www.crapo.senate.gov/media/newsreleases/release_full.cfm?id=337809