Last year, more than 2,000 women and their children sought help from Mississippi’s 14 domestic violence shelters. These shelters received more than 45,000 crisis calls and law enforcement officials responded to 10,400 domestic violence calls statewide, with more than 600 victims under the age of 16.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, domestic violence plays a substantial role in the health of Mississippians.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, the awareness month unfolded as a result of the first Day of Unity which was first observed in 1981 for the purpose of uniting battered women advocates across the country who worked to end violence against women and children.
The Office Against Interpersonal Violence was created during the 2014 legislative session within the MSDH, the release stated. The group’s goal is to reduce or eliminate domestic and sexual violence and other forms of intimate partner and interpersonal violence by creating coordinated response with local communities and shelters.
According the MSDH, domestic violence victims may experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal behavior, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. Domestic and intimate partner violence is now recognized as a health priority in Mississippi.
“Domestic violence is a serious concern in our communities,” Director of the MSDH Office Against Interpersonal Violence Heather Wagner said in the release. “Recognizing domestic violence as a serious societal problem is the first step. Education is the next step hopefully then leading to prevention. We would also like to bring special attention to interpersonal violence this month in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and remind Mississippians that help is available.”
Learn more about the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at www.ncadv.org.
For more information about domestic violence help visit the MSDH website at www.healthyMS.com/dv or call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-898-3234 (601-981-9196).