SD Group: Multi-Faceted Approach Needed to Stop Domestic Violence
Friday, October 28, 2022
October is winding down, but groups working to prevent domestic violence still are hoping the public hears their message during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
A South Dakota group describes it as a prevalent issue. Nearly 28% of South Dakota women and 23% of men around the state experience intimate-partner physical violence.
Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, said more awareness is needed about the root causes, and not focusing only on anger issues.
"It is about power and control that one person has in the family that ends up causing harm to the other family members," she said.
Heeren-Graber said broader education efforts should include promoting healthy relationships. She said another key component is consistently holding offenders accountable, and noted that those individuals need more treatment options if the state hopes to see substantial change.
Nationally, one in three women experiences domestic violence.
While helping survivors is the primary goal, Heeren-Graber said the public also needs to know more about the ripple effects of domestic violence.
"Domestic violence definitely impacts the entire community," she said, "and it's not just something that is occurring to a few people in a few homes in our state."
She said the examples it sets for children could spill outside the home and contribute to bullying issues. And there's the need for medical care, including emergency-room visits, at a time when many rural hospitals are struggling to stay open.
This month, the South Dakota Housing Development Authority approved using American Rescue Plan funding to expand temporary shelter space in five cites for several groups, including domestic-violence survivors.
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