October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins today. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence,  sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. 

Domestic violence was previously an epidemic long before COVID-19, but the health crisis has caused a spike in incidents of abuse. Even as stay at home restrictions are lifted, with ongoing requests to remain home when possible, domestic abuse still remains high.

“Before COVID-19, survivors faced numerous financial, physical, and emotional barriers while building independence after leaving an abusive relationship, but the pandemic has made these factors even more challenging,” University of Michigan Police Department Sgt. Paula Williams states. “We want our community to know that there are many resources available to assist them, including resources within the university like our Special Victims Unit.”

In partnership with police departments in Washtenaw County, DPSS has recently adopted the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). The LAP is a standardized, evidence-based tool that first responders can use not only to determine the level of danger, but also to provide victims with resources, advocates, information about domestic violence, and safety planning. 

“Many victims are not aware of the danger they are in, so the assessment helps them recognize circumstances that make them more vulnerable,” said Williams.

If you or someone you know has experienced intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault or other abuse by an intimate partner, DPSS SVU can assist with filing reports, obtaining medical treatment, safety planning and requesting a Personal Protection Order. It is important to understand that domestic violence is not just physical abuse—it also can be emotional and psychological abuse which can be just as dangerous.

Now is a critical time for increasing education and awareness for domestic violence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, join us by sharing information and resources that can help those who are experiencing violence at home during this unprecedented time. 

For more information on red flags and signs of an abusive partner, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCDV) website.

Resources for victims of domestic violence
In an emergency, always call 911.

University of Michigan DPSS Special Victims Unit
To report an incident or contact UMPD SVU, call (734) 763-1131.

SafeHouse Ann Arbor
(734) 995-5444
An emergency shelter for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) at the University of Michigan
(734) 764-7771
Provides prevention education to the University community on issues of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
Also available through an online chat tool.

National Sexual Assault Hotline
Also available through an online chat tool.

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
Available 24/7 for victims of abuse and any other type of crisis.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

Office on Women’s Health Helpline
A resource provided by the US Department of Health & Human Services.