Tuesday, October 2, 2012

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom salutes agencies that fight domestic violence

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and other agencies are doing outstanding work to help keep women safe in Kansas, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

“The Coalition speaks with one voice for women and children across Kansas who have been battered and raped,” Grissom said.

The Justice Department supports the Coalition and other agencies in Kansas with grants through the federal Office of Violence Against Women. The Justice Department this month is marking national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI show that nationally the number of women killed by an intimate partner declined 35 percent from 1993 to 2007.

“Yet we still have much work to do,” Grissom said. “Recent data suggest that one in four American women still experience severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.

This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.

That includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse and psychological abuse.

Experts estimate that more than 2 million adults and more than 15 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year.

Every day, an average of three women in the United States die as a result of domestic violence. It is estimated that for every woman who dies, nine more are nearly killed as a result of domestic violence.

Domestic violence can happen between current and former spouses, current and former boyfriends and girlfriends, people who cohabitate and people who don’t live together. It affects people of every background, ethnicity, age, ability or sexual orientation.

Experts say domestic violence costs our nation $8 billion annually in lost productivity and health care costs. It is responsible for the loss of 8 million paid days of work each year – or the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

“Domestic violence doesn’t just impact the immediate victims,” Grissom said. “It is felt by families, neighbors, friends and entire communities. Domestic violence impacts all of us. None of us is immune.”

Since 2009, Grissom said, the Office of Violence Against Women has awarded a record number of grants – totaling more than $1.5 billion – to states, local and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations in order to launch, sustain and strengthen activities combating violence against women.

For more information, visit the Office of Violence Against Women at www.ovw.usdoj.gov and click on “October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”