GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Family Advocacy Program is focusing on re-energizing the community's awareness of domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to FAP, domestic violence happens in our community and many communities throughout Installation Management Command-Europe.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic violence does not discriminate by race, gender, age group, education or social status.

"Domestic violence takes many forms: physical; emotional; economic; stalking and harassment; and sexual," said Denise Link, Family Advocacy Program Manager, Army Community Service, USAG Bavaria.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH?

Beginning October 1987 and each subsequent year after, the Family Advocacy Program highlights Domestic Violence Awareness Month to increase awareness and assist those who experience domestic violence. The month is also about reducing the stigma and negativity of being a victim of domestic violence by encouraging local communities to focus on domestic violence and related issues.

According to National Institute of Health, domestic violence can affect anyone, of any age, any educational level, and any income, but women are more likely to experience domestic violence than men.

Victims of sexual assault in the military do not report the assault for many of the same reasons as victims outside of the military: embarrassment, fear, shame, etc. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, on average, less than 1 percent of men report domestic incidents versus over 25 percent of women.

The Family Advocacy Program frequently works with restricted and unrestricted reports.

"Family Advocacy Program Victim Advocates can take restricted and unrestricted reports of domestic violence and provide non-clinical support to victims," said Link.

FACTS AND FIGURES

According to the Department of Defense Study fiscal year 2017:
• In fiscal year 2017, there were 15,657 incidents of domestic violence reported to FAP
• 7,153 of those reported incidents met the criteria for domestic abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect)
• Nine domestic abuse fatalities reported to FAP in FY17
• 96 percent of victims in met criteria sexual abuse incidents were female in FY 2017
• 300 incidents of sexual abuse were reported by 282 victims, indicating that one or more victims experienced more than one incident of sexual abuse in FY 2017
• 12,849 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect to FAP in FY 2017
• 6,450 of those reported incidents met the criteria of child abuse and neglect in FY 2017
• Of the active duty parent met criteria child abuse and neglect offenders, 69 percent were in the pay grades E4-E6.

Statistics provided by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services state DoD rates of child abuse and neglect victims are about half of their counterpart rates in the U.S. civilian population.

Working in partnership with the Family Advocacy Program, USAG Bavaria is leading the way with a holistic approach to reducing domestic violence at every opportunity. A recent policy memorandum, signed by the USAG Bavaria Garrison Commander, Col. Adam Boyd, highlighted victim safety, command support and accountability.

Resources are also available, to include: chaplains, military family life consultants, family advocacy program employees, Military OneSource and behavioral health employees.

A friendly reminder: "It is out of the scope of practice for MFLCs to provide counseling support to victims of domestic violence. They would be required to refer the client to the Behavioral Health Clinic," said Link.

To contact Bavaria Medical Command Behavioral Health on Tower Barracks, Bldg. 507, call DSN 590-3000, CIV 06371-9464-3000. For Rose Barracks, Bldg. 260, call DSN 590-2300, CIV 06371-9464-2300.

For more information, contact the ACS FAP manager, located in USAG Bavaria's Grafenwoehr and Vilseck Military Communities at DSN 476-2650/2733, CIV 09662-83-2560 /2733. The hotline number is +49 162-296-0661.