This and every October since 1989 has been observed as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Three themes remain a key focus of this public health campaign:
- To mourn those who have died as a result of domestic violence.
- To celebrate those who have survived domestic violence.
- To connect those who work to end domestic violence.
The United States Justice Department explains that domestic violence “includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.” The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also refers to domestic violence as intimate partner violence, as it can also occur between same sex couples, but does not necessarily require intimacy.
According to the CDC, intimate partner violence is a serious public health issue as physical injury and death can occur from this type of violence. Other negative health effects may include chronic cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, reproductive, musculoskeletal, and nervous system conditions. Some survivors may experience severe mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The CDC also reports that survivors are also at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as HIV risk behaviors.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be accessed nationwide 24- hours daily at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1800-787-3224 or (206) 518-9361 (Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers). If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Your healthcare provider can also be a trusted source to ask for help. To schedule an appointment at any of our convenient Primary Medical Care Center community clinics, you may visit our website at www.primarymed.com, or call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic, or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic.