AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Oct. 1 marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to Family Support Services, one in four women have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
“Domestic violence is an issue. I think a lot of people want to not talk about it and sweep it under the rug, but the longer we do that the more of an issue it becomes,” said Family Support Services’ Crisis Service Specialist.
For Family Support Services, this month is a way to gain recognition for domestic violence victims and survivors.
Stiles said that this is a special time to give them a voice and let them know that there’s a place that will support and carry them through hardships they might face.
Domestic violence red flags can include but are not limited to anger outbursts, threats, coercion, and financial abuse.
“It’s not just physical abuse. It’s not always physical abuse. It can start out with, like I said, threats, coercion and intimidation and things like that,” Stiles elaborated.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a big drop in calls the FSS received this year. At one point, advocates like Stiles were not even allowed into the hospitals to see sexual assault and domestic violence victims.
“I think, number one, because they’re scared to go into the hospital, because of course there’s people there who have COVID. And number two, they’re stuck at home with their abuser, and so there’s not a safe time to get away because their abuser is at home. They’re not at work,” said Stiles.
For the rest of the year, Family Support Services aims to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of their resources. This includes their Crisis Hotline, counseling services, and for anyone in immediate danger and in need of safe shelter, their Emergency Safe House.
“One of our big goals is just to destigmatize domestic violence and let survivors and victims know that it’s not their fault,” Stiles explained.
Family Support Services’ mission is to empower individuals and families through comprehensive advocacy, education, and intervention services.
The Family Support Services Crisis Hotline is 806-374-5433. This hotline, along with their counseling services, is open to everyone and not exclusively domestic violence victims.
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