October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month:
Written by John Reibling, Coast Guard Family Advocacy Program Manager
Anyone who has experienced domestic violence, or knows someone who havs, knows how devastating and lasting the impact can be not only to survivors of domestic violence but also the children who have been exposed to it. It’s not just an individual or family problem; it’s a community problem.
A recent White House press release said it best: “Stopping domestic violence is something that’s bigger than football – and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it.”
The good news is that available data indicates that the extent of the problem has been declining both within the nation and the military. However, we know that domestic violence remains one of the most under-reported crimes in the nation and that survivors and their children continue to suffer in silence.
Incidents can range from emotional abuse to a pattern of power and control that includes life-threatening physical abuse. The earlier actions are taken to address the problem, the better chances that partners and children can be protected, and in the military, careers saved.
The Coast Guard Family Advocacy Program is designed to prevent incidents of domestic violence and to keep bad situations from getting worse. For those survivors concerned that reaching out for help will get their partners in trouble, the Coast Guard now has a restricted reporting option for active duty and dependent victims. This policy allows Family Advocacy Specialists across the Coast Guard to assist survivors without initiating command and law enforcement notification.
For more information on the Coast Guard’s domestic violence reporting policy and contact information see the Intimate Partner Maltreatment Reporting Options Brochure located on the Family Advocacy Portal.
For additional sources of help, consider these programs and services:
The U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential and anonymous support by phone 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
CG SUPRT: Call 855- CG SUPRT, 855-247-8778 at any time. This is the Coast Guard Employee Assistance Program, available to assist active duty members, reservists, civilian employees and family members will a full range of issues such as financial matters, relationship discord, and other stress that, if neglected, could lead to more serious problems. CG SUPRT can provide assistance in an emergency, offering counseling services and other appropriate resources for any problem you might be experiencing.
You can also visit CG SUPRT online by going to http://www.cgsuprt.com Coast Guard medical personnel and Work-Life Employee Assistance Program Coordinators are also available to assist. The Chaplain corps is another valuable resource in the Coast Guard, contact at 1-855-USCG-CHC, 855-872-4242.
For additional information about other helpful Work-Life programs visit the Work-Life website.
Commanding officers and officers-in-charge are strongly encouraged to use this message as a starting point for unit discussion and education on this topic. Contact the Family Advocacy Specialist at your local Health, Safety, and Work-Life Regional Practice office for additional information about domestic violence.