The goal Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is to raise awareness about the signs of domestic violence and the resources that are available to combat this terrible cycle of partner and family violence. It’s not just today or this month. The work continues each minute of every day because that is when violence is occurring in homes, workplaces, schools – out in the open and behind closed doors.
Working with many community partners – law enforcement, the courts, human service and health providers, schools, elected officials and public and private funders – Women In Distress of Broward County has its mission to stop abuse for everyone through intervention, education and advocacy.
Women In Distress has been engaged in this work for 48 years. Of the 41 certified domestic violence centers in the state of Florida, Women In Distress (WID) is now among the largest and has comprehensive programs to meet the critical needs of survivors of domestic violence and their children. All services are free and confidential – provided in multiple languages to serve our diverse community.
We are fortunate to lead and be a part of the strong statewide public policy and advocacy group, the Florida Domestic Violence Collaborative (FLDVC).
The Florida Department of Children and Families entered into partnership with FLDVC (collectively compromised of Women in Distress, Inc. and its two partners, CASA Pinellas and The Spring of Tampa Bay) to deliver comprehensive management of services for the Department’s domestic violence program, including training and technical assistance to certified domestic violence centers and partners to improve intervention and prevention strategies to address domestic violence, legal services through designated projects, and the implementation of 24-hours crisis hotline call center operations of the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline. Florida’s certified domestic violence centers share the mission to eliminate domestic violence by promoting safe families and communities through empowerment-based advocacy, providing technical assistance to centers and providers, and engaging in systems and social change.
Women In Distress will serve more than 3,000 adults and children this year, provide more than 27,000 emergency shelter nights, answer more than 15,000 calls to its 24-Hour Crisis Line and provide thousands of hours of advocacy, therapy and legal guidance on getting injunctions for protection (restraining orders). Empowerment programs will help provide a foundation for survivors to successfully return to work or school to get the training they need to move on with their lives free of the abusers, free of violence.
It is only because of our strong partnerships and support across the community that we are able to continue this work. Through domestic violence educational programs in the schools, workplaces and community events, our Education & Prevention team touches more than 7,000 people – many of those children and young teens – to let them know that love should not hurt.
Breaking the cycle of domestic violence begins with greater awareness. Domestic violence crosses all boundaries of culture, age, race, sex, education and socioeconomic status. Ten million women and men are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year. One in four women and one in nine men in the US will experience intimate partner violence. Nationwide, domestic violence centers will receive 20,000 calls on a typical day. Million’s of children are exposed to domestic violence each year and many will be destined to repeat the cycle if there is no early intervention.
We are making progress but the issue continues to grow – stalking, dating violence, repeated and escalating assaults, cybercrimes, bullying, human trafficking, financial, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse – are all part of the problem.
To those who are joining us in the mission, the survivors and their children here at Women In Distress say: “Thank you. You saved our lives.”
To those who want to learn more, now is the time. Click here for our DVAM Calendar of Events.