FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Fort Rucker officials urge everyone to speak up and "be a part of the solution."

"This year's theme is 'All People, Working Together can End Domestic Abuse: Be Part of the Solution,'" Luticia Tremble-Smith, Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program manager, said. "Supporting and observing brings attention to this issue. All victims and survivors should be heard, and when we support and observe we are giving a voice to those individuals."

According to Tremble-Smith, Domestic Violence Awareness Month table displays will be set up in various locations on Fort Rucker throughout the month. Awareness bags filled with educational information on healthy relationships, domestic violence facts and various items to keep the attention on domestic violence prevention throughout the year will be available.

Everyone is also urged to wear Purple on Fridays in October to show their support for victims and for ending domestic violence, she added.

Awareness, according to Tremble-Smith, is a key component to detecting and preventing domestic violence.

"Awareness and prevention begins by learning how to identify the risk factors associated with domestic violence before it begins, and by learning how to promote respectful and healthy behaviors in relationships," she said. "Learn healthy communication skills. Learn safe and appropriate ways to raise the issue of domestic violence with family, friends and co-workers."

What should an individual do if they become aware of domestic violence?

"Domestic violence can be lethal," Tremble-Smith said. "If you or someone you know is being abused, call local law enforcement or 911 immediately.

"For someone who has never experienced domestic violence, it may be difficult to understand why victims don't report abuse," she added. "Deciding to leave an abusive relationship (poses) serious risks to the victim and children in the household. Support the victim by being patient and non-judgmental. The safety of victims and children is essential. Confidential information and support are available through the Fort Rucker Family Advocacy Program victim advocate 24/7 hotline at 379-7947, where they can make a restricted or unrestricted report."

Individuals can also increase their awareness and knowledge of domestic violence through AFAP services and programs on post.

"AFAP offers a variety of educational programs that promote protective factors and reduce risk factors," Tremble-Smith said. "The key is early referral to prevention resources. Advocacy services are 24/7, providing crisis intervention that is non-clinical, safety planning, accompany the victims throughout the legal and medical processes, and largely empowering the victim to make decisions that are independent and courageous. Two programs within AFAP are the victim advocacy program and new parent support program."

For more information, call 255-3246 or 255-3898.