October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This observance is held to bring awareness to the realities of domestic violence. It’s important to make space for people to learn and stand in solidarity with victims and survivors.
Effects on the victim
There are many effects of domestic violence, which includes injury, fear, post – traumatic stress disorder, and sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers estimate that between 4.5 million and 15 million children are exposed to physical violence in the home. Verbal and emotional abuse in the home is more difficult to track.
The majority of unhoused women across the nation – 57% according to recent data – say domestic violence is the direct cause of losing their permanent home. In Los Angeles, almost 40% of women who are homeless say they’ve experienced abuse in the last 12 months. In one year, more than 10 million women and men have experienced domestic violence.
EFFECTS ON THE CHILDREN
As you can imagine, along with the personal trials that come with experiencing domestic violence, it can also have devastating effects on the children that witness their parents experiencing the abuse. In many cases, these children either experience first-hand abuse alongside their parents or experience the abuse second-hand. First-hand abuse is experiencing the abuse directly, while second-hand abuse is witnessing the abuse and vicariously experiencing the same trauma. In both cases, the long-lasting trauma can affect children for the rest of their lives.
THIS IS HOW WE HELP
The Dream Center’s heart is to love victims and survivors, as well as their children, wherever they are at. Our Foster Care Intervention outreach program was born in 2008 with the vision of keeping families together by providing free resources to families who are at risk of losing their children. We partner with the Department of Children and Family Services to work with families who lack basic necessities required in a home for children to remain in the care of their parents. Domestic Violence is the leading cause of single-parent households, which is a huge financial burden for the single parent. Another issue to consider is the pressure a parent has to face with the court system after they have reported the abuse. Having to juggle rebuilding a safe environment for their children while meeting all the court requirements to keep custody of their children is difficult.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND FOSTER CARE
We serve hundreds of individuals through our Foster Care Intervention outreach program year round. Most of these individuals have an open Department of Children and Family Service case due to domestic violence. Through this special outreach program, we are able to visit households to offer in-home support to families in need of basic necessities, to eliminate the excess stress of financial hardship. In many cases, a family not having things like beds or basic hygiene products can be the deciding factor in whether a parent loses custody of their children or not.
As we observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Dream Center stands with victims and survivors and will continue to serve hundreds to keep families together. If you would like to donate please consider giving today toward our Foster Care Intervention outreach program. Your donation would help us in our efforts to provide financial relief to families that have been impacted by domestic violence.