FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- If you think your spouse or partner is abusive, or you suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship, never feel like there's nothing you can do about it. If you at least recognize the warning signs and review the red flags on domestic abuse and violence, you can help that person take the first and most important step - breaking free.

Not all abuse involves physical threat; emotional abuse can also leave deep and lasting scars. Domestic violence is any verbal, physical, emotional or sexual behavior against a spouse, partner or family member.

Domestic violence does not discriminate - it affects people of all ranks, age, race or socioecnomic status, according to Jocelyn Coleman, Chief of Army Community Services at Fort McPherson.

Violence against a partner or a child is a crime in all states and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity) and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence. Each year, at least 4 million women are abused in this country.

Examples of abuse include:

-- Name-calling or putdowns

-- Keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends

-- Withholding money

-- Stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job

-- Actual or threatened physical harm

-- Sexual assault

-- Stalking and intimidation

If you are a victim of domestic violence, safety is first. Call 911 for assistance. If you reside on the installation, call the Military Police. If you are victim of domestic abuse, the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) staff can assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

For more information, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Web site at www.ncadv.org or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.ndvh.org, or call 800-799-7233. Also, call the Family Advocacy staff at 464-2250, 464-2957 or after duty hours at 404-275-4179.

Page last updated Thu October 2nd, 2008 at 15:40