“Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) nearly 20 years ago, our Nation's response to domestic violence has greatly improved. What was too often seen as a private matter best hidden behind closed doors is now an established issue of national concern. We have changed our laws, transformed our culture, and improved support services for survivors. We have seen a significant drop in domestic violence homicides and improved training for police, prosecutors, and advocates. Yet we must do more to provide protection and justice for survivors and to prevent violence from occurring. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we stand with domestic abuse survivors, celebrate our Nation's progress in combatting these despicable crimes, and resolve to carry on until domestic violence is no more.” – Barack Obama, 2013
Violence in the family and in relationships has existed throughout history, but only in the last 30 years has domestic violence been recognized in intimate relationships. It was during the 1970's that the first shelters and services for battered women were established. Research suggests that nearly 25 percent of women will experience some sort of abuse in an intimate relationship and that 10 percent of those women will suffer from severe abuse. Domestic violence is considered a problem rooted in society and not in individuals. All social workers should recognize and understand the complex economic, emotional, cultural, and societal factors that keep women and family members in violent situations.
NASW-Michigan is committed to ensuring that all social workers have the resources and support they need to help clients who experiencing domestic violence. Members are invited to attend our monthly Physical and Sexual Violence and Women’s Issues (PSVWI) work group. The group meets the second Thursday of each month from 10:30am-12pm at the NASW-Michigan office (or by conference call). If you would like to be added to the group listserve please email Chair Erica Schmittdiel, LMSW at email@example.com.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence created a Michigan Domestic Violence fact sheet. This document has statistics for the State of Michigan as well as a listing of every domestic violence agency in the State organized by congressional district. The link for this resource is http://www.ncadv.org/files/Michigan%20new%202.09.pdf.
As social workers we need to be involved in issues of domestic violence and join in the awareness events of our areas. Below is a list of some of the Domestic Violence Awareness events occurring throughout Michigan in the month of October.
Social workers across Michigan are encouraged to post stories, op-ed and other articles. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your submissions.