I want to do an info graphic series here, instead of all the text… but it may have to wait until another time.
Why It Matters
Domestic Violence in the United States:
- Women are disproportionally affected by sexual violence, intimate partner violence (IPV) and stalking.
- Nearly 3 in 10 women in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. The medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work) costs of IPV constituted an estimated $5.8B in 1995, which equals $8.3B when updated to 2003.
- According to the U. S Department of Justice, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) were female from 1994 to 2010. Most intimate partner violence was perpetrated against females. In 1994, 85% of intimate partner violence victims were female and the remaining 15% were male. These distributions remained relatively stable over time.
- IPV resulted in 2,340 deaths in 2007; of these IPV victims, 70% were females.
Domestic Violence in Georgia:
- Georgia is currently ranked 12th in the nation for rate of men killing women.
- IPV is a leading cause of injury for girls and women between the ages of 15 and 44.
- Children were in the vicinity during a homicide in 43% of cases, reviewed, and actually witnessed the homicide in 19% of the cases (GA Fatality Review Project).
- IPV along with substance abuse and mental illness are three major underlying problems in abuse and neglect cases petitioned in the Juvenile Court. These problems, particularly IPV are often not identified at the time children are removed to foster care. (Judge Peggy Walker, Juvenile Court of Douglas County).
- According to the latest CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS), Georgia ranks as the worst state in the nation for teens experiencing dating violence: One in sixteen respondents to the YRBS (16%) indicates he or she has experienced some form of this abuse. GA respondents were more likely than the U.S. population to report being hit.
- Georgia is seeing increasing numbers of Domestic Violence fatalities since 2008.
- In 2012, law enforcement responded to 72, 870 DV incidents in Georgia 
- Between 2009 and 2011, Family Violence incidents rose while violent crime rates decreased; reported rates of DV increased, but numbers of arrests decreased.
- In 2013:
- 58,955 crisis calls were made to Georgia’s certified Domestic Violence agencies.
- Survivors and children occupied 248,463 bed nights in DV shelters; 4,612 victims were turned away for lack of space.
- 29,779 adult and child victims were served by Georgia’s certified Domestic Violence agencies. 
- In 2013 there were 61 victims killed in Domestic Violence related homicides in the State of Georgia.
Domestic Violence in Cherokee County:
- There were 3,331 Domestic Violence related calls to law enforcement in Cherokee County.
- There were 1,310 crisis calls made to our 24-Hour Hotline.
- CFVC sheltered 87 women and children in our shelter who occupied 4,171 bed nights.
- The CFVC shelter operated at 95.2% capacity for the entire year.
- CFVC served 82 women and 140 children through our Supportive Housing Program.
- CFVC provided legal and crisis services to 386 community victims of Domestic Violence.
- CFVC provided 24,242 services to victims of Domestic Violence and their children.
- CFVC served women from 14 different countries though our Multicultural Program.
- There were no Domestic Violence related deaths in Cherokee County.
- In total, CFVC served 2,056 clients in 2013.
Information on statistics from past years can be viewed in other locations on our website.
CDC, NISVS Survey, 2010 Data. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_FactSheet-a.pdf
 Black et al., 2011; CC 2012.
 DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report on Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2010.
 Whitaker & Lutzker, 2009; Black & Breiding, 2008; Whitaker & Reese, 2008; Gilbert et al., 2006
 2012 Georgia Bureau of Investigation, GCIC
 2009-2011 Georgia Bureau of Investigation, GCIC
 Governor’s Office for Children and Families
 Governor’s Office for Children and Families
 Governor’s Office for Children and Families
*including the perpetrators
Myths & Facts
Myth: Domestic violence is more common for poor people.
Fact: Domestic Violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. In fact, middle-class women often face barriers to get public assistance when they decide to leave because of their family’s above poverty line financial status.
Myth: When batterers are violent, it is because they “lost their temper,” and not because they meant to hurt their partner.
Fact: Batterers use violence because it helps them gain and maintain power and control, not because they lose control of their emotions. In fact, batterers are very much in control. For instance, batterers choose whom they abuse (their partners not their co-workers), when they abuse (in public or in private), and how they abuse (hitting where the bruises don’t show).
Myth: Domestic violence is rare.
Fact: Domestic violence affects 1 out of 4 women at some point during her lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic violence, but women make up about 97% of domestic violence survivors. Domestic violence happens equally in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
Myth: Domestic violence is a personal problem between the adults in the household.
Fact: Domestic Violence affects everyone.
- 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.
- 70% of men who abuse women also abuse children.
- According to a recent American Bar Association report, experts estimate that between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually. The report cites numerous links between serious emotional and psychological problems from exposure to domestic violence:
- Depression, hopelessness, and other forms of emotional distress in teenagers are strongly associated with exposure to domestic violence.
- Infants often fail to thrive.
- Children may exhibit bed wetting, sleep disorders, violence towards other children, stuttering, and crying.
- Children exposed to domestic violence have a tendency to identify with the aggressor and to lose respect for the victim; men who witness their fathers’ abuse their mothers are three times more likely to abuse their wives than men who have not witnessed abuse. A woman who witnesses her father abuse her mother has a much greater likelihood of becoming a battered woman herself. (“The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children,” American Bar Association 1995)
- In 47% of cases, the perpetrator and victim had at least one
minor child together.
Myth: If it were that bad, the victim would just leave.
Fact: There are many reasons why a victim may not leave. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim wants to be abused. Leaving can be dangerous. The most dangerous time for a victim who is being abused is when the victim tries to leave.
Myth: Domestic violence is not a serious problem in the U.S. or in Georgia.
Fact: Battering is the single largest cause of injury to women in the United States – over mugging, automobile accidents and rape, combined. (NCADV 2003). In 2014, Georgia was rated the 9th highest in the nation for the rate of domestic violence fatalities (GCFV 2015). In 2014, Georgia mourned at least 117 domestic violence related deaths.
Myth: Couples counseling is the best solution for domestic violence.
Fact: Couples counseling in NOT recommended for couples trying to end the violence in their
relationship, due to the power and control underlying the violence. CFVC recommends that abusers attend a state certified family violence intervention program (FVIP) and survivors seek assistance from a domestic violence advocate.
Myth: Pregnant women are not victims of domestic violence.
Fact: “National surveys indicate that 5.3% of pregnant women each year experience domestic violence. This means as many as 324,000 women experience intimate partner violence during pregnancy.” (Physical Abuse Around the Time of Pregnancy: an Examination of Prevalence and Risk Factors in 16 states. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2003; 7:31-43; Violence and reproductive health; current knowledge and future research directions. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2000; 4(2): 79-84)
Myth: People who are religious do not batter and are not victims of battering.
Fact: Batterers can be religious people, including clergy and lay leaders. Many battered women have deep religious beliefs which may encourage them to keep the family together at all costs.
Myth: Batterers are violent in all their relationships.
Fact: Most batterers do not use violence in other non-intimate relationships to resolve conflict. “Batterer’s typically present a different personality outside the home than they do inside, which complicates a woman’s ability to describe her experiences to people outside the relationship.” (K.J. Wilson, Ed.D., When Violence Begins at Home, 1997.)
Myth: Drinking and/or drug abuse cause battering.
Fact: There seems to be a correlation between alcohol and battering. Although alcohol abuse may increase the likelihood of violent behavior, it does not cause or excuse it.
How to Help Friends & Family
Helping Friends and Family
The following is information that can help you spot signs of abuse and offers tips on how to support someone experience abuse.
How Do I Recognize Domestic Violence?
Does your friend or family member…
- Turn down social invitations or miss work or social engagements often?
- Seem more withdrawn or isolated or seem to have lost confidence?
- Become anxious or unusually quiet when their partner is around?
- Have unexplained injuries or injuries that do not fit the explanation for how they happened? Are they wearing unusually heavy make-up or covering up by dressing heavily for the season?
- Receive an unusually high number of calls or text messages from their partner? Does it seem as though they have to “check-in” with their partner?
- Seem sensitive about home life or do they hint about trouble at home?
- Have a partner who publicly degrades them or uses verbal put downs?
Signs that could Signal Increased Danger
Research shows that these behaviors may indicate a growing risk of danger. If your friend or family member tells you these kinds of things are happening, encourage them to contact one of our Hotline Advocates at our 24-hour hotline at 770 479-1703 to create a safety plan.
- Abuser has a weapon
- Victim is trying to end the relationship or take steps to gain independence (filing a protective order, “breaking-up”)
- Abuser has threatened or attempted suicide
- History of abuse and/or abuse is getting worse or happening more often
- Abuser threatens to kill the victim
- Abuser is stalking victim, perhaps with repeated phone calls, emails, and/or texting, showing up unexpectedly where the victim is working or socializing, or seeming always to know the victim’s whereabouts and what the victim has been doing.
What to Say and What Not to Say
Start the conversation by saying “I care about you,” or “I am worried for your safety.”
Point our specific behaviors or incidents that concern you. For example, “I saw your partner grab your arm very hard and march you across the room.”
Don’t make blaming statements. “Why don’t you just leave?” or “I would never let someone put their hands on me.”
Don’t give advice. Instead say “What do you think you should do?, or “You are the one who knows your situation best.”
Don’t tell others what your friend or family member has told you unless you have permission. Instead encourage the victim to talk to others that may be able to help; advocates, neighbors, co-workers, faith leaders, other family and friends, etc.
Remain calm. If you react strongly and insist that your friend or family member call the police immediately, for example, they may shut down.
Offer to help connect them with resources; let them know that calling a domestic violence program (commonly referred to as a “shelter”) does not mean they have to go to shelter or leave their partner immediately unless they choose to.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be extremely dangerous. Creating a safety plan with a domestic violence advocate is essential to leaving an abusive relationship safely.
This person may not be ready to leave the relationship. Say “I will be here for you even if I don’t understand all of your decisions.”
Do not push printed materials on your friend or family member; these can be found by the abuser and can increase the victim’s difficulty or danger.
Taking a non-judgemental position as a reliable resource is your best defense against the abuser’s efforts to separate your friend or family member from you support.
Remember to be careful. Don’t place yourself in a position where the person who is being abusive could harm or manipulate you. Don’t try to intervene directly if you witness a person being assaulted. Dial 911 instead.
The above was excerpted with permission from Domestic Violence “What to do if Friends or Family members are being abused” published by the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.