Story last updated at 10/7/2009 - 11:41 am
SITKA - October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and SEARHC has participated in awareness events in Sitka for several years. The annual Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day this year is Wednesday, Oct. 14. It is a national domestic violence awareness day, organized by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, designed to promote routine health screening for abuse.
Domestic violence is a health care problem of epidemic proportions in Alaska and throughout this country. There were more than 6,000 reported cases of domestic violence in Alaska in 2005. The Alaska rape rate is 2.5 times the national average. Although men can be victims of domestic violence, 73 percent of family violence victims are women. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
Many experts say that properly trained doctors and other health care providers are uniquely qualified to intervene to help victims. SEARHC now screens all patients for abuse, and SEARHC also provides information and referrals to local shelters for patients who need help finding safety or getting out of abusive relationships.
Toll-free contact numbers for four shelters in the region are as follows: Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) in Sitka (1-800-478-6511, http://www.safv.org/), Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE) in Juneau (1-800-478-1090, http://www.awareak.org/), Women In Safe Homes (WISH) in Ketchikan (1-800-478-9474, http://www.ketchikanwish.org/) and Cordova Family Resource Center or CFRC in Cordova (1-866-790-4357). More information about domestic violence and how to prevent it can be found at http://www.endabuse.org/ or http://www.andvsa.org/.