By the OFFICE OF CRIME VICTIMS ADVOCACY
U.S. victims of intimate partner domestic violence collectively lose 8 million days of paid work each year — the equivalent of more than 32,000 jobs, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
What exactly is domestic violence?
Domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse. It also includes emotional abuse, economic abuse, psychological abuse, digital abuse and sexual abuse. Withholding access to money or bank accounts, isolating someone from other people, searching a person’s text messages and phone calls, threatening to harm oneself or loved ones, and destruction of property or personal belongings are all signs of an abusive relationship, according to the Joyful Heart Foundation.
While Autumn is a time of falling leaves, crisp air and pumpkin patches, the Office of Crime Victims’ Advocacy also recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
In this time, we:
- Remembered and honored those who have been taken from us
- More loudly uplifted the voices of those who have survived
- More energetically educated those around us
As we’ve all had to adjust to incredible home and workplace change as a result of the pandemic, reports of domestic violence have surged, according to a federal report released in late April.
As a result, Washington’s domestic violence service providers have had to quickly adapt how, when and where they provide services.
One agency has moved its support groups from an office building to an advocate’s horse barn, so participants can safely social distance. Many now provide advocacy services over Zoom — whether it’s one-to-one support or being available while clients participate in virtual court proceedings.
Advocates working from home have also adjusted their schedules so they can continue working with clients who can no longer safely receive services during regular business hours. Service providers have risen to the occasion and continue to mirror the resourcefulness of victims as they fight to survive in these uncertain times.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a harmful relationship and would like to talk to someone, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE or visit www.thehotline.org to chat with an advocate online and receive information about a program near you.