Association News

Domestic Violence Awareness

Sep 29, 2017

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Often people don’t realize how common domestic violence is in the United States.  In the U.S., domestic violence accounts for about 20 percent of the nonfatal violent crime women experience and 3 percent of the nonfatal violent crime men experience (U.S. Dept of Justice, 2007).  Nearly one third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives (Commonwealth Fund Survey).  In addition, in 92 percent of all domestic violence incidents, crimes are committed by men against women (Violence Against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept of Justice). 

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.  Abusive behaviors may include:

Psychological/emotional abuse
Isolating the victim from friends / family
Threatening the victim with abandonment, kidnapping the children, hurting pets

Economic abuse
Denying the victim access to bank accounts
Demanding the victim account for every cent, requiring receipts

Physical abuse
Pushing, shoving, hitting, biting, choking, slapping
Physical attacks that can range from bruising to murder

Sexual abuse
Forcing sex or unwanted sexual activity
Calling the victim derogatory sexual names

Verbal abuse
Yelling/screaming                                                                                                             Put downs, shaming, public humiliation

Impact on children

Domestic violence can affect children physically, behaviorally, and emotionally. The effects on children who witness domestic violence may include:

Constant fears 
Sense of guilt and responsibility
Difficulty concentrating
Feeling powerless 
Confusion about loyalty to parents 
Aggressively acting out
Anxiety about separation and loss 
Difficulty resolving conflicts with other children
Staying safe

If you are still in the relationship:

Create a safety plan. Below are some things to think about for a safety plan:

Think about all possible escape routes - doors, windows, basement exits, etc.
Choose a place to go in an emergency. A friend or relatives home, hotel, a shelter. Someplace where you feel safe.
Pack a survival kit.  Money for cab fare, change of clothes, birth certificates, extra keys for home and car, medications, address books, copies of important documents like insurance information, driver’s license, credit cards, and legal documents. Leave the bag with a friend or relative or hide it at home or work.
Try to start an individual savings account or become more financially independent.
Memorize the telephone number of a domestic violence hotline.
If possible, avoid arguments with the abuser in areas with potential weapons (kitchen, garage, rooms with no exit, etc.)
During an attack, get away if you can, or defend yourself as best you can. If possible, leave the house and take the children.
Seek medical help. Injuries may be more serious than they seem.

If you have left the relationship:

Change your phone number
Screen calls
Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries, or other incidents involving the abuser
Change locks
Avoid staying alone if possible
Plan how to get away if confronted
If you have to meet your former partner, do it in public
Vary your routine
Notify school, work, and child care contacts
Call a shelter for support

How to get help if you think you might be abusive:

Sometimes people may not realize that they are being abusive.  Other times abusers consciously want to gain power and control over another person.  Often they may have witnessed or experienced abuse as a child and may not know a better way of interacting with loved ones.  Regardless of the reason, people can change and find a healthier way of relating to others.  If you are wondering if your behavior is abusive, call the EAP at 303-982-0377, or call the AMEND (Abusive Men Exploring New Directions) Program at 303-987-3444.

How to get help if you are being abused:

Often people who are abused feel sad, alone, confused, or even crazy. They may blame themselves. But no one deserves to be battered and domestic violence is not a result of provocation.  Domestic violence is against the law.  There are places to go to get help. The violence can be stopped.

In case of emergency call 911
Call the EAP for counseling and other resources 303-982-0377
Tell your supervisor for ways to make your workplace safer
Shelter: Women in Crisis – Jefferson County 303-420-6752
Legal Information: Jefferson County Court Clerk at 303-271-6228
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence 303-831-9632
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Colorado Anti Violence Program for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered people 303-839-5204
Domestic Violence:  Make it Your Business, Colorado Bar Association 303-860-1115

If you would like further information about domestic violence, or to speak with an EAP counselor, please contact your confidential Employee Assistance Program at 303-982-0377 or visit our website at  Your EAP offers no-cost assistance to all Jeffco Public Schools employees, their family members over age 15, and retirees.  “Confidential help from caring professionals…”