An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by a partner every year. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. 30 to 60 percent of perpetrators of domestic violence also abuse children in the household.
We cannot continue to ignore the impact of domestic violence beyond the homes where it occurs. Domestic violence costs businesses an estimated $5.8 billion per year in health care expenses, lost productivity, and missed work days. When you include the costs of property loss, ambulance services, police responses, and criminal justice processes, the annual cost of domestic violence jumps to over $67 billion.
Children exposed to domestic violence commonly exhibit anger, aggression, difficulty with school work, and problems relating to peers. A new study has found that classmates of children exposed to domestic violence also demonstrate decreased reading and math test scores and increased misbehavior in the classroom. Thus, even though your home may be a safe and loving place, the violent home of one of your child's classmates may affect your child's performance in school.
What else can you do to help? If you witness an act of domestic violence, do not ignore it - report it! Listen to those around you that may be victims of domestic abuse. Tell victims that you are ready to help when they are ready to seek help. Provide victims with the telephone number for ADV & SAS, which can provide free, confidential services.
We need to thank to the countless law enforcement officers, victims' service providers, prosecutors, court personnel, medical professionals, first responders, and community members who work every day to eradicate domestic violence in our community. But we also need to do more. Please consider joining the Zonta Club of La Salle-Peru Area at Maud Powell Plaza at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27 to learn more about the problem of domestic violence in our community.
Domestic violence affects or entire community. As a community, we need to work together to change attitudes and perceptions about domestic violence.
Melissa M. Olivero