October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a problem with devastating results and staggering costs. A 2003 study by the CDC estimated that domestic violence cost the U.S. economy more than $5.8 billion in a single year. According to the World Health Organization, other studies have estimated the annual costs of domestic violence in the United States to be as high as $12.6 billion. The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women notes that, so far, in 2011, 18 Minnesotans (15 women, 2 children and 1 man) have died as a result of domestic violence related homicides. In 2010, 28 Minnesotans (17 women, 7 children, and 4 men) lost their lives in domestic-violence-related homicides.
Ending domestic violence requires families, friends, neighbors, business owners and faith communities willing to get involved and provide a circle of support. Our community’s response is critical both for victims' safety and perpetrator accountability. Victims must be provided the protection and support necessary to improve their circumstances. Perpetrators must be held accountable for their violence and given appropriate penalties that require changes in their behavior.
From October 2010 to October 2011, HOPE Coalition provided services to 437 women, 112 children, and 77 men who had experienced domestic violence. These services included crisis intervention, advocacy, support groups, safety planning, information and referral, and legal advocacy. Of those served last year, 70 women and 80 children stayed at the Haven of Hope, HOPE Coalition’s domestic violence shelter. HOPE Coalition outreach advocates assisted victims in filing 41 Orders for Protection and 15 Harassment Restraining Orders.
Please help us reduce the costs of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is struggling with abuse, please call HOPE Coalition’s Haven of Hope (1-800-369-5214), the Day One Crisis line (1- 866-223-1111), or local law enforcement. You can learn more about domestic violence by visiting the HOPE Coalition website (www.hope-coalition.org) or inviting a HOPE Coalition staff member to present for a group of interested individuals (651-388-9360 extension 11).