Friday, September 29, 2017

October's Important Conversation

By Julie Nauman, CalVCB Executive Officer

The start of October means the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a time to have an important conversation.

Family violence is a crime that impacts all races, ages and socioeconomic levels. No one is immune. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equals more than 10 million men and women in a year.

In California, nearly 33 percent of adult women and 27 percent of adult men have experienced some kind of intimate partner physical violence in their lives.

Domestic violence is a complex issue. Many victims will closely guard a family violence secret, and at times, feel compelled to protect the abuser. No one wants to share that the person they care about, the pillar of the community or the one taking care of the family is hurting them.

Breaking the silence is the first crucial step in empowering victims. October’s annual observance provides an opportunity to listen, share stories of survival, or just have a conversation about an uncomfortable subject. It’s also a time to unite and raise awareness about the availability of resources for victims.

Those in the field of victim services know all too well that domestic violence carries both a physical and mental cost. What many do not realize is that there is also a financial cost.

The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) can help with crime-related expenses such as medical care, mental health treatment, home security systems, relocation, income loss and more.

Last fiscal year, CalVCB provided $2,046,846 to help domestic violence victims with relocation and residential security costs. This included covering expenses such as first month’s rent, security deposits, moving vans, utility set up, alarms, locks, video cameras, motion detectors and more.

The sooner victims know about the resources available to them, the faster they can get the help to heal. For many domestic violence victims, time is always a critical factor as the abuse often escalates.

Let’s support all victims of violence when they need it. Just having a conversation, listening and supporting the October observance can make a huge difference to someone.

Together, we can improve the lives around us — one conversation at a time.

Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB). CalVCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime.