WPO recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October

For the month of October, organizations and nations around the globe are rallying together in an explosion of purple ribbons to honor domestic violence awareness

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

There is no masking the severity and impact of domestic violence in the lives of thousands of women and men each day. Victims of intimate partner violence are at increased risk for suffering serious physical and mental health problems that continue for years after the abuse has ended. Women who suffer from intimate partner violence typically have more headaches, chronic pain, gastrointestinal and gynecologic problems, depression and anxiety, and injuries than other women (Rivara et al, 2007).

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is a month designated to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence.  Across the country, advocates are joining health care providers, business leaders, policy makers, faith-based groups, college students and many others at events and activities designed bring attention to this critical issue.

*** If you're a victim of abuse or violence at the hands of someone you know or love, or you are recovering from an assault by a stranger, you are not alone. Get immediate help and support. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-799-SAFE (7233) and 800-787-3224 (TTY).***

E-Stats: Domestic Violence

  • One in four women and one in fourteen men have been physically assaulted by an intimate partner at some time in their lives; 

  • intimate partner violence is the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related death during pregnancy; 

  • everyday in the U.S. an average of three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner;

  • a woman is far more likely to be killed by an intimate acquaintance or a family member than by a stranger (Catalano, 2007).

Rivara, F. P, Anderson, M. L., Fishman P., Bonomi, A. E., Reid, R. J., Carell, D., Thompson, R. S. (2007). Healthcare utilization and costs for women with a history of intimate partner violence. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32 89-96. National Coalition Against Domestic ViolenceU.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence Facts (PDF, 325 KB).

Catalano, S. (2007). Intimate Partner Violence in the United States. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Additional Resources

See alsoAPA Resolution on Male Violence Against Women

October 1, 2010. President Obama releases proclamation on National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Violence Against Women

The APA Public Interest Directorate’s Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) continues to work independently, and as a member of the Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, in support of federal programs focused on combating violence against women. Specifically, PI-GRO worked with organizational partners to advocate for increased funding for violence against women programs in the Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations bill (including programs focused on violence research, training of health care providers, and interventions in health care settings). In addition, PI-GRO is working with organizational partners in preparation for the upcoming reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In particular, PI-GRO serves on several VAWA reauthorization committees that work on issues impacting health; individuals with disabilities; ethnic minorities; children; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons; and immigration. Furthermore, PI-GRO is working in support of the International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2982/H.R. 4594), which would enhance U.S. efforts focused on violence against women globally.

To view other initiatives from PI-GRO please visit the web page.

APA Launches New Journal: Psychology of Violence®

APA will begin publishing the journal Psychology of Violence® in 2011. This new journal is now soliciting submissions of research-based articles. Psychology of Violence, to be published quarterly, will be a multidisciplinary research journal devoted to violence and extreme aggression—including identifying the causes of violence from a psychological framework, finding ways to prevent or reduce violence, and developing practical interventions and treatments. As a multidisciplinary forum, Psychology of Violence recognizes that all forms of violence and aggression are interconnected and require cross-cutting work that incorporates research from psychology, public health, neuroscience, sociology, medicine, and other related behavioral and social sciences. Research areas of interest include sexual violence, youth violence, child maltreatment, bullying, children's exposure to violence, intimate partner violence, suicide, homicide, workplace violence, international violence, and prevention efforts.

Psychology of Violence will be edited by Sherry L. Hamby, PhD. Dr. Hamby is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Sewanee, the University of the South. She is well known for her study of the methodological and measurement challenges of violence research and cross-cultural issues in measuring and intervening in violence. She also holds appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland. Dr. Hamby is a co-author of the “Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire”—the core of the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, which is the largest survey conducted on youth victimization and the source of the most up-to-date and comprehensive statistics on exposure to family violence. She is also author or co-author of more than fifty other publications on family violence and youth victimization. More information about the new journal, including information on submitting manuscripts, can be found on the journal’s website.

Related Reading

1. Study examines the efficacy of a culturally informed, empowerment-focused, psychoeducational group intervention (Nia) or treatment as usual (TAU) for reducing psychological symptomatology, and the effect of Nia versus TAU on the relation between exposure to intimate partner violence and psychological symptomatology in abused, suicidal, low-income African American women. Findings suggest benefit to incorporating Nia as an intervention component.

Kaslow, N. J., Leiner, A. S., Jackson, E., Bethea, K., Bhaju, J., Rhodes, M., Gantt, M., Senter, H., & Thompson, M. P. (2010) Suicidal, abused African American women’s response to a culturally informed intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 449-458. doi:10.1037/a0019692

2. Study finds women who experienced intimate partner violence had worse HIV-related health as indicated by reduced CD4 counts and increased HIV viral load. In addition, PTSD symptoms were related both to intimate partner violence and health-related quality of life.

Rose, R. C., House, A. S., & Stepleman, L. M. (2010). Intimate partner violence and its effects on the health of African American HIV-positive women. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. Doi:10.1037/a0018977

3. According to a new study, women who are in they’re mid-20s to early 30s are most vulnerable to becoming victims of abuse although the rates of domestic abuse have declined.

Rivara, F. P., Anderson, M. L., Fishman, P., et al. (2009). Age, period, and cohort effects on intimate partner violence. Violence and Victims, 24, 627-638.

4. Study examines the efficacy of a family-planning-clinic-based intervention to address intimate partner violence (IPV) and reproductive coercion. Researchers from the University of California Davis School of Medicine surveyed 900 English- and Spanish-speaking women between 16 and 29 years old.  Participants were asked about reproductive coercion and then counseled about harm-reduction strategies.  The study found a 70 percent reduction in the odds of male partner pregnancy coercion among women who recently had experienced intimate partner violence after the brief intervention. Sixty percent (60%) were more likely to report ending a relationship with a partner because they felt unsafe or the relationship felt unhealthy.

Miller, E., Decker, M., McCauley, H., Tancredi, D., Levenson, R., Walkdman, J. Schoenwald, P., Silverman, J. (2010). A family planning clinic partner violence intervention to reduce risk associated with reproductive coercion. Contraception, 80. Published online September 1, 2010

Miller, E., Decker, M., McCauley, H., Tancredi, D., Levenson, R., Walkdman, J. Schoenwald, P., Silverman, J. (2010, April). Pregnancy coercion, intimate partner violence and unintended pregnancy. Contraception, 80, 316-322.