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You can help stop domestic violence

In 1989, the United States Congress enacted the first commemorative legislation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Since then, similar legislation has been enacted each year by Congress with similar provisions and pronouncements adopted by governmental bodies at the state and local levels throughout this country.

On Thursday, September 20, 2012, at its regularly scheduled meeting the Lawrence County Commissioners adopted a resolution expressing its continuing recognition of the dangers and costs of domestic and intimate partner violence to society and affirming its commitment to supporting efforts to combat the continuing epidemic of violence.

On Thursday, the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force will hold its fourth annual program commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

While our efforts to stem the tide of domestic violence in Lawrence County continue throughout the year, this program, which will begin at 6:00 pm in the Rotunda at Ohio University – Southern Campus, provides an opportunity for the members of our community to come together to learn, share information and stand up and be counted in continuing the fight against violence in our families, our homes, and our lives.

Tonia Moultry is the keynote speaker for our program this year. Ms. Moultry is the Training and Technical Assistance Director at the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and has an extensive background in the domestic violence field.

While most of us would agree that domestic and intimate partner violence is a serious problem for the families afflicted, far fewer of us are aware of the costs that, as a society, we incur as a result of the continuing violence.

According to a report issued jointly in 2003 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control entitled Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, the costs of intimate partner rape, physical assault, and stalking exceed $5.8 billion each year, nearly $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health care services.

In addition, the reports found that the total costs for intimate partner violence also include nearly $0.9 billion in lost productivity from paid work and household chores for victims of nonfatal IPV and $0.9 billion in lifetime earnings lost by victims of intimate partner homicide.

Health care costs alone account for more than two-thirds of the total costs.

Lost productivity is another key component of costs incurred as a result of intimate partner/domestic violence.

One survey completed by EDK Associates in 1997 found that 56 percent of employees involved in domestic violence situations were late for work at least 5 times per month, 28 percent had to leave work early at least 5 times per month, and 54 percent missed at least 3 full days of work per month.

In addition to the pure economic costs of intimate partner violence, society also incurs additional indirect and non-economic costs born by the victims and their families.

In the 1996 Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, researchers found that a child’s exposure to intimate partner violence by a father against a mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next, thereby perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Furthermore, the Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Violence found that battered women are 15 times more likely to be at risk for alcoholism than non-battered women, and 9 times more likely to be at risk for drug abuse.

The last few years have seen a great deal of uncertainty for American families in regards to their financial and health care circumstances.

Without minimizing the moral repugnancy of intimate partner and domestic violence, we as a society can not afford to bear the substantial, if somewhat hidden, costs of such behavior.

Now is the time for each and every one of us to stand up and proclaim, with certainty of purpose and resolve, that domestic violence will not be tolerated.

Many members of our community have already stepped forward to offer support for the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force’s efforts to stem the tide of domestic violence in our community, and to each of you we extend our heartfelt thanks.

If you have been unable to do so previously, however, the Domestic Violence Awareness Month program offers an excellent opportunity to show your support for all of the victims of domestic violence in Lawrence County and throughout our nation.


Kevin D. Samples serves as Court Advocate with the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force, a non-profit organization that provides shelter and legal advocacy services for victims of domestic violence in Lawrence County, Ohio. If you or someone you know would like additional information about our agency’s services or domestic violence generally, please contact the staff via telephone at (740) 532-7111 or via email at lawrencedvtaskforce@yahoo.com.